Survey Finds Plastics Recycling in Europe Can Top 60 Percent by 2020

A study by Plastics Recyclers Europe finds 24 million metric tons of plastics can be diverted from landfills there.

September 24, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics
The Plastics Recyclers Europe has released a study that shows the continent can achieve a plastics recycling rate of 62 percent by 2020. The study also finds that a higher plastics recycling rate would create benefits for the European Union environment, economy and resource efficiency. 

“This study, commissioned by Bio Intelligence Service, aims to put forward the most suitable scenario in order to further improve the sustainability of plastics via recycling in Europe in the period to 2020,” says Tom Emans, president of Plastics Recyclers Europe. “Enhancing plastics recycling will save scarce resources, create jobs and reduce environmental impacts.”

Emans notes that “the current plastics recycling situation is no longer acceptable.” He continues, “In the long run, economic growth, demographic changes and growing scarcity of raw materials will not allow Europe the luxury of wasting 76 percent of all plastic materials used. Urgent measures are needed in order to increase recycling rates for plastics. This study proposes crucial measures that should be taken in order to achieve this.” 

The implementation of the Vision for Resource Efficiency will: 
  • Efficiently use all plastic waste generated by putting 11 million metric tons of plastics recyclables on the market; 
  • Divert more than 24 million metric tons of plastic waste from landfill; 
  • Recover energy from 7.5 million metric tons of residual waste; 
  • Create around 360,000 jobs (of which 120,000 will be directly employed by recyclers); 
  • Save more than €4.5 billion (by substitution for virgin plastics); and
  • Avoid emissions of more than 26 MtCO2 (metric tons of carbon dioxide). 
The full study is available on the Plastics Recyclers Europe’s website at