On the one hand, the report says, the current collection infrastructures have reached their limit and the collection of PET bottles is stuck at around 50% whereas the balance of the uncollected PET is still landfilled or incinerated.
“Europe is not maximising the sustainable use of a valuable resource such as post-consumer PET” said Casper van den Dungen (Chairman of the EuPR PET Working Group). Controversially, the EuPR also blames “intensive lightweighting and complex bottle design” for a rise in the average costs of recycling in recent years. Such increased costs cannot currently be corrected by further economies of scale, the group claims.
That said, recent years have seen an increase in demand for recycled PET and this has led to a significant increase in investments in many new recycling lines. Casper van den Dungen said: “The combined effect of these market failures are causing recycling plants to operate at well below 75% of their capacity”.
In addition, a potential lifting of currently existing anti-dumping duties on virgin PET could further worsen the industry’s position, says EuPR. “Until today, PET has been an undisputed success and example for sustainable development. It can remain so in the future if the collection moves upwards to another level and the virgin PET is fairly marketed” according to Casper van den Dungen.