Plastic Recycling Industry in Europe

The plastic industry is an important sector of the European economy. Plastic products are omni-present in our everyday life. They are an extensively used material in number of industries e.g.: automotive, electrical & electronic, building & construction, and food & beverage sector. Due to the distinctive properties of plastic as well as its growing innovation applications, the trend in production for this material will continue to grow. 

The plastic application sectors are relatively stable with the packaging sector remaining the largest, followed by building & construction, automotive, electrical & electronic equipment. The biggest source of plastic waste remains packaging and consequently the most plastics waste that is currently recycled comes from this stream. There is a positive trend observed in Europe in the recovery of plastics that less plastic waste is ending in landfills. In 2012, out of the 25, 2 Mt of plastics collected for recycling 6.6 Mt were recycled and 8.9 Mt were incinerated. The challenge to recycle more and to fully implement the waste hierarchy model, with prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal as the least preferable option, remains.

Learn more about plastics recycling here:

Plastics Waste Management

Mechanical Recycling

Chemical Recycling

Energy Recovery

Disposal & Landfilling




Latest news

Even very low quantities of degradable plastics that end up in the traditional plastic waste streams have a significant, negative impact on recycled plastics.

The average yield of the PET recyclers has decreased from 73% to 68% since 2011. This 5 points decrease has led to substantial and additional cost for the European PET recyclers. Additionally, recyclers are obliged to discard more material in order to achieve good quality of recycled PET.