PET bottle recycling breaks new records

In 2003, more PET bottles were collected and recycled in Europe than ever before, according to a recent report by the non-profit trade association Petcore.

The number of European PET bales offered to the recycling markets jumped from 449,000 tonnes in 2002, to 612,000 tonnes in 2003, representing a growth rate of 36%.

Trends in market outlets remain unchanged, with bottle-to-bottle recycling showing an increase from 8.1% in 2002, to 11.1% in 2003. Other RPET outlets: polyester fibre 70.4%, polyester sheet 7.5%, and strapping 7.6%.

Exceptionally high growth rates were seen in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, the Baltic states and in Ireland. But virtually all other countries in Europe showed growth as well.

Large increases were also seen in Germany and, for the first time in many years, the United Kingdom.

Germany and the UK, however, were also the countries contributing most to the increase of PET bottle export to China. Frank Koelewijn, Petcore’s Director General, said that the export of RPET rose from 33,000 tons in 2002 to 136,000 tons last year.

Relating to that fact, Koelewijn expressed his concern about exports which did not result in environmental benefits and caused the loss of recycling capability in Europe.

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