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EuPR: Europe’s PET recycling industry under threat

Belgium – ‘The PET recycling industry is threatened by persistent structural market failures across Europe,’ according to Brussels-based trade body Plastics Recyclers Europe (EuPR).

‘On the one hand, the current collection infrastructures have reached their limit and the collection of PET bottles is stagnating around 50% whereas the balance of the uncollected PET is still landfilled or incinerated,’ EuPR states.

Europe is ‘not maximising the sustainable use’ of the valuable post-consumer PET resource, asserts Casper van den Dungen, Chairman of the EuPR’s PET working group. Intensive lightweighting and complex bottle design have caused the average costs of recycling to increase substantially during the last few years. As a result, recycling plants have been forced to operate at ‘well below 75% of their capacity’, he says. He goes on to warn that the potential lifting of anti-dumping duties on virgin PET ‘could further worsen the EU industry’s position’.

PET has been an ‘undisputed success’ and has long served as ‘an example for sustainable development’, according to Mr Van den Dungen. This status can be maintained ‘if the collection moves upwards to another level and the virgin PET is fairly marketed’. A well-managed and balanced value chain is an essential requirement within Europe, he argues.

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