Recycling capacity for rigid polyolefins in Europe totals 1.7 million tons

Rigid plastic packaging

Plastics Recyclers Europe (Brussels) has released 2018 data on HDPE and PP packaging recycling capacity, reporting a total capacity of 1.7 million tons of rigid, post-consumer and post-industrial polyolefins. In particular, HDPE and PP are in the group of the most recycled streams in Europe. A report on 2018 recycling capacity in Europe for PET (2.1 million tons) and PE-LD (3.4 million tons) was previously published.

According to the data, the countries with the highest shares of installed capacity for these streams include Italy, with a rate of 25%; Germany (22%); and the UK (15%). An additional 22% comes from Spain (13%) and France (9%). In 2018 there were 114 HDPE and PP recyclers located in Europe. The highest number of HDPE and PP facilities can be found in Italy and Spain. Germany placed third, followed by the UK and France.

“Demand for the use of recyclates is increasing and shifting toward a wider range of applications, which requires a new set of specifications,” commented Herbert Snell, Chairman of the HDPE & PP Working Group. “Although HDPE and PP recycling capacity is steadily growing, in order to meet this new demand and increase the quality, it will be essential to work on advancing collection and design for recycling.

“It is indispensable to increase recycling of these polymers if we are to reach the new recycling rates,” he added. “This, in turn, can happen only if a genuine transformation of the production, end-of-life treatment and collection of these materials is taking place.”

This is crucial, noted Plastics Recyclers Europe, as the main and biggest outlet for rigid polyolefins in Europe remains the packaging segment. These two materials are used in a “vast array” of applications in food, household and personal care products. The remaining biggest market for HDPE is building and construction; for PP, it’s the automotive market.

Image courtesy Plastics Recyclers Europe.

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