Petcore: European PET bottle collection increases by more than 8%

Petcore announced that European post-sorting PET collection reached 1.4 million tonnes in 2009, an increase of more than 8% on 2008. The overall collection rate in 2009 rose by nearly 2.5%, from 46% to 48.4%, of all PET bottles on the market.

The 2009 share of fibres as an end use for recycled PET flake decreased from 45% to 40%, although the tonnage remained almost the same. The PET sheet market tonnage resumed its growth pattern from 22% to 27%. Blowmoulding continued to grow with more than 22% going to this outlet in 2009. The strapping market was the hardest hit by the economic recession but still consumed 7%.

It was estimated that there is a total mechanical reclamation capacity in the European region of 1.6m tonnes. This provides the impetus for the industry to increase the current collection rate beyond 50%.
Exports to the Far East fell slightly to 16% of collected PET and 67,000 tonnes of baled PET bottles were imported from outside the area.

Of the collected bales that are reprocessed in Europe, only 75% is usable PET. The remainder consists of caps, labels, residues, contamination such as foreign materials and other polymers. The continuing programme of bottle weight reduction means that caps and labels form a greater proportion by weight of the collected PET package.

"I should like to congratulate members of the PET industry chain who have worked with Collection Agencies, National Bodies and European Recyclers to increase the collection rate to nearly 50% of all PET bottles placed on the market. For the collection of PET bottles in Europe to increase by more than 8% in such difficult economic circumstances is a real achievement." said Roberto Bertaggia, Chairman of the Petcore Board.

He continued "Recycled PET is a reliable and sought-after feedstock in the PET value chain and sustainable uses are being developed to utilise the growing supply of recycled PET. Whether PET bottles are recycled into one of the new applications, into another bottle, fibre, sheet or strapping tape the energy saving will be the same."

The Chairman emphasised that Petcore will endeavour to ensure that the growth in PET recycling continues such that it remains an important mainstay to meet the 22.5% EU target rate for overall plastics recovery. "Already in 23 countries we have a higher recovery rate for PET alone, than that required by the current packaging waste legislation for all plastics. This sustainable growth reflects the expectations of consumers who themselves are an important part of the recycle chain."

Petcore's new publication, PET Profile, has been updated to include reflect the 2009 collection figures.

The report "Post Consumer PET recycling in Europe 2009 and Prospects to 2014" was prepared for Petcore by PCI PET Packaging, Resin & Recycling Ltd.

More information: www.petcore.org, www.pcipetpackaging.com