Germany – Although Germany has the largest volumes of collected PET in Europe, the country’s recyclers are claiming that they do not have sufficient access to the material. As a result, German PET recycling companies have bundled their powers by establishing a so-called PET study group within the country’s Plastics Recycling Association (BVSE).
Lack of availability is due to collection systems which are ‘poor’ in comparison to top performers such as France or Italy, the PET recyclers argue. As a result, too few batches of PET bottles make it to the recycling plants, leaving the facilities starved of input; Germany has therefore commonly resorted to importing huge volumes of material to make up for this shortfall. According to BVSE, capacities at PET plants across most of Europe are not fully utilised.
Topics already discussed by the new PET study group include labelling of PET bottles following higher adhesive content and problems with washing flakes in recent months. Plant operators were in agreement that opening up a dialogue with related industry players might help identify the main problems and could potentially yield mutual solutions.
Following the group’s first meeting, it has been recognised that the most efficient approach is to crush PET bottles immediately upon entering the take-back phase. The members also point out that it is no longer an easy task to make the distinction between clear and coloured material, thus damaging downstream values. Furthermore, recyclers fear that the vast majority of plants are not equipped to properly recycle such material.
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