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Europe experiencing ‘significant increase’ in plastics recycling capacity

Belgium – The installed capacity for recycling flexible polyethylene (PE) has been ‘€˜increasing significantly’€™ over the last few years, according to Ton Emans of Plastics Recyclers Europe.

The installed capacity for recycling flexible PE has grown approximately from 1.5 million tonnes per year in 2015 to 2.3 million tonnes per year recently. Giving that Europe has an extrusion capacity of 7.4 million tonnes of flexible PE, it can be assumed that the EU recycling rate for these materials is roughly 31%.

Some 175 plastics recyclers have been analysed across Europe. This study indicates that 5 countries, namely Spain (18%), Germany (17%), Italy (13%), Poland (10%) and France (6%) represent nearly two thirds of the installed recycling capacity.

The stream of the flexible PE plastics is comprised of; commercial and retailer waste (43%), production Waste (23%), agriculture waste (17%), and household packaging (13%).

Ton Emans, Plastics Recyclers Europe president comments: ‘The plastics recycling sector has been very dynamic in the last few years. This shows that the industry is paving the way to enhance the circularity of plastics.’

He adds that the EU’s Circular Economy Package and the newly presented Plastics Strategy state ‘clear targets’ to reach. On the other hand, China’s ban on import is ‘further driving investments’ in both sorting and recycling plants.

The members of Plastics Recyclers Europe make up roughly 80% of the European recycling capacity, jointly processing more than 3 million tonnes of collected plastics annually.

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