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Europe: PET collection and recycling rates increase in 2016

Europe – Out of 3.147 million tonnes of PET bottles and containers placed on the European market in 2016, some 59.8% – or 1.881 million tonnes – were collected, of which 1.773 million tonnes were mechanically recycled, according to a survey conducted by industry body Petcore Europe.

‘It shows that the collection rates increased by 7.4% while the recycling rates also grew by 7.3%,’ notes the organisation. ‘In 2016, that resulted in 129 400 tonnes more collected and 120 000 tonnes more recycled PET compared to 2014.’

The survey reveals that the combined volume reported for France, Germany and Italy represented 47.9% of that collected throughout Europe, continuing the gradual decline in the top three’s share (48.5% in 2014 and 53.3% in 2011).

These three have been joined by Spain and the UK in contributing a significant proportion to the overall total, with the five countries accounting for 70.9% of the European collection total. The survey outlines ‘a slightly more positive’ picture for clear bottles compared to previous years as they accounted for 17.3% of the overall stream, up 2.1% on 2014 and the first increase in five years.

‘This is an encouraging sign for recyclers and hopefully this increased share is set to continue,’ comments Petcore Europe’s executive director Christian Crepet. ‘However, the quality of bales with additionally a total share of 26.4% clear/light blue bottles, 25.5% mixed colours including green/brown bottles, and 30.8% of unspecified mixed colours clearly continues to challenge the recycling industry,’ he remarks. 

And he adds: ‘Therefore, we believe that there is a vital need for a detailed analysis of the unspecified waste stream which will be part of the 2018 study commissioned by Petcore Europe.’

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