Polyolefins recycling in 2018

The capacity for rigid polyolefins in Europe totals 1.7 million tonnes

Plastic and environment - Wednesday, 8 May 2019

With a total recycling capacity of 1.7 million tonnes, rigid, post-consumer and post-industrial polyolefins, in particular HDPE and PP, are in the group of the most recycled streams in Europe. According to the data collected by Plastics Recyclers Europe, the countries with the highest shares of the 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 places itself in third place, followed by the United Kingdom and France.

Chairman of the HDPE & PP Working Group, Herbert Snell commented: “The demand for the use of recyclates is increasing and shifting towards a wider range of applications which require a new set of specifications. Although the 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”. He added: “It is indispensable to increase recycling of these polymers if we are to reach the new recycling rates. 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 as the main and the biggest outlet for rigid polyolefins in Europe remains the packaging segment. They are used in a vast array of applications ranging from food, household and personal care products. The remaining biggest market for HDPE is building and construction and for PP the automotive one. The data for HDPE and PP is supplementing the numbers for the already published recycling capacities for PET (2.1 million tonnes) and PE-LD (2.3 million tonnes) in Europe published in 2018.


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