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PET recycling up in Europe: Chinese import ban a positive impact

Studies show a steady growth in the capacity of European plastic recyclers resulting in enhanced manufacture of fibres made from recycled PET. The latest figures are good news for the industry following uncertainty over the Chinese government’s decision to ban the import of plastics.

The annual Petcore conference held recently in Brussels, saw speakers from organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation speak on the implementation of plastic circularity. Data from the Plastic Recyclers Europe show since 2015, the installed capacity for plastic recycling in Europe has grown from around 1.5 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes annually. Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland and France are accountable for around two thirds of the current capacity for plastic recycling on the continent.

Ton Emans, Chairman of PE Working Group says plastics recycling sector has been dynamic in the last few years. This shows that the industry is paving the way to enhance the circularity of plastics...The Plastics Strategy of the Commission and the Chinese import ban have already a positive impact as we see an acceleration of new projects across Europe.”

Under the theme ‘Strategy for PET in the Circular Economy’ at this year’s Petcore conference, speakers from the European Commission, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and PCI Wood Mackenzie spoke about the PET market as well as the plastics industry in the European Circular Economy.

Petcore also focused on the European Circular Economy. Eline Boon spoke on behalf of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, delivering a presentation ‘New Plastics Economy’. Boon said there is “a global momentum to rethink the plastics system,” emphasises that it isn’t a case of eradicating plastics, but just approaching their manufacture and usage in a different way.