Plastics recycling has grown slightly in Europe, but more than 30 per cent of total arisings continue to be landfilled, according to “Plastics – the Facts”. The annual overview is published by the industry organisations PlasticsEurope and EPRO (European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery).
Last year, 69.2 per cent of waste plastics arisings were recycled or used to generate energy, according to data compiled by the consulting company Consultic. The amount of post-consumer waste plastics generated in the EU28, Norway and Switzerland stood at 25.8 million tonnes, up from 25.2 million tonnes in 2013. Of these volumes, 29.7 per cent were recycled (2013: 26 per cent), 39.9 per cent were processed for energy recovery (2013: 36 per cent) and 30.8 per cent were landfilled (2013: 38 per cent).
The highest recycling rate for waste plastics was observed in Norway, where it reached 40 per cent. Quotas exceeding 30 per cent were achieved in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Estonia. France reached just over 22 per cent. Malta ranked last with approximately 14 per cent.
While nine countries recycle or recover 95 to 100 per cent of waste plastics arisings, the majority of the remaining countries fall far short of the goal of phasing out the landfilling of plastics in Europe. Eleven EU member states recover or recycle less than 50 per cent of their plastic wastes. The highest recovery rates were observed in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Norway. These countries achieve recovery rates of up to 100 per cent and have introduced landfill bans.