PET collection rates across Europe
Slovakia – Source: Institute for Environment Policy report, November 2018.
Denmark – Source: 2020 data from Dansk Retursystem A/S https://www.danskretursystem.dk/presse/#/pressreleases/danskerne-panter-som-aldrig-foer-2982130.
Spain – Source: 2020 Ecoembes.
National 2019/2020 data and Eunomia/NMWE/Petcore Europe/PRE 2020 based on 2017 data.
Towards a more circular PET market in Europe
The PET market in Europe is moving towards higher levels of circularity. This is the main conclusion from the report entitled PET Market in Europe – State of Play 2022, which provides the latest data and trends on the current PET market in Europe, and highlights the main changes and challenges faced by the PET supply chain.
This report was released in January 2022 and carried out by Eunomia Research & Consulting, in partnership with Petcore Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe and Natural Mineral Waters Europe.
Key findings from the report:
- The largest use of PET is for bottles (70%), which means that there is significant demand for PET by the beverage industry.
Collection and sorting
- An estimated 4.6mt of PET rigid packaging was available for collection in 2020, of which approximately 49% (61% of bottles) was collected and sorted for recycling across Europe.
- Collection and sorting rates for beverage bottles will need to increase in many EU Member States to meet the targets set in the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive.
- By 2025, 19 EU Member States are expected to have Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) in place for PET bottles to increase collection rates.
- Overall recycling capacity has increased by 21% in two years.
- Recycling capacity in Europe will need to expand at least one third by 2029 to enable EU Member States to meet the EU 90% collection rate and the mandatory recycled content targets.
- Closed-loop bottle recycling should be prioritised: only when the bottles degrade to the point that they are no longer usable as such, could they be used in other non-food applications.
Recycled PET (rPET)
- Packaging is the primary end market for rPET.
- The largest single application for rPET in packaging in 2020 was trays and sheets (32%) followed by food contact bottles (29%).
- rPET production increased by 3.8% between 2018 and 2020, while virgin production decreased by -2.7% in the same period, showing a move towards rPET.
- The share of food-grade rPET in PET beverage bottle production is set to continue to grow rapidly.
- The shift to a refillable beverage bottle system requires major changes and large-scale investments to the existing supply chains. Therefore, any future policies aimed at increasing reusable packaging need to thoroughly consider the challenges involved in terms of environmental impact, transport, storage, wash, and refill facilities. In addition, sufficient transition time should be provided to EU Member States and the right policy enablers should be ensured to facilitate the move to refillable PET.
Read the full report here.