Increased plastics waste collection suggests higher recycling rates

Plastikflaschen (Foto: ©Ariane Sept /

Brussels – In 2014, 25.8 million tonnes of post-consumer plastics waste ended up in the waste upstream. 29,7 percent was recycled and 39,5 percent energetically recovered while 30.8 percent still went to landfill, says the latest „Plastic – The Facts 2015“ report. From 2006 to 2014, recycling and energy recovery increased by 64 percent respectively 46 percent, with a decrease in landfilling by 38 percent. According to Plastics Recyclers Europe, the new data show an important growth in plastics waste collection.

Plastics Recyclers Europ is welcoming this sudden increase of plastics collection in Europe as this is an essential step towards plastics recycling. This could be proof that higher recycling rates are more achievable and realistic than expected in our latest study suggesting a 60 percent recycling rate for plastic.

However, the increase in plastics waste collected for recycling did not translate into increased plastics recycling in Europe. In fact, plastics recyclers have not seen an increase in feedstock for their plants. Furthermore, the exports of plastics waste have been globally stable over the last three years. Therefore, it can be questioned where over 1Mt of additionally collected plastics waste (6.6Mt collected for recycling in 2012 to 7.7Mt in 2014) have ended up.

This underlines the fact that quality collection and sorting are essential to drive investments and job creation in Europe. Additionally, the data on waste collection most become more transparent and harmonised across Europe.

Thus, the new Circular Economy Package must structure the vital steps of collection, sorting and data reporting. It goes against the base of a circular economy that sorting is not mentioned in any of the EU legislation.

„Plastics – the Facts 2015“ can be downloaded under

Source: PlasticsEurope / EPRO