According to the latest figures released by Plastics Recyclers Europe, rigid, post-consumer and post-industrial polyolefins, in particular, HDPE and PP are the most recycled plastic waste categories recycled in Europe. With a total recycling capacity of 1.7m tonnes, this recycling stream is not far behind the European totals for PET (2.1m tonnes) and LDPE (2.3m tonnes), the figures for which were published in 2018.
The data collected by Plastics Recyclers Europe shows that the countries with the highest shares of installed capacity rigid polyolefins 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, followed by Germany, the UK and France.
As demand for these recyclates rises, with use shifting towards a wider range of applications, both the quality and volume of available recyclates will have to become more stable. As chairman of the HDPE & PP Working Group, Herbert Snell commented:
“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.”
The packaging sector continues to be the most important consumer of rigid polyolefins in Europe, using these in a vast array of applications including food, household and personal care products. The second biggest market for HDPE is building and construction and for PP, the automotive industry.