01 June 1998 18:42 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Mechanical recycling of plastics waste in Western Europe has the potential to double from 1.2m tonne in 1995 to 2.7m by 2006, according to a study carried out on behalf of the Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe (APME).
It predicts that mechanical recycling has the potential to reach 9.9% of consumption in 2001 and 10.6% in 2006, compared to 7.6% in 1995. This is equivalent to a growth rate of 8.4% a year between 1995-2006.
While the European Union packaging directive sets a target for plastics packaging recycling of 15% by 2001, the APME study predicted it will reach a slightly lower level of 14.8% in 2001. Plastics packaging recycling levels could increase to 15.4% in 2006, compared to 10.7% in 1995, according to the study.
A major constraint to increasing recycling rates is the imbalance between the amount of waste that can technically be collected and the potential end markets for recycled plastics. A country's market for recycled plastics can quickly become saturated, and this is considered to be a significant barrier to achieving existing packaging waste recycling targets with mechanical recycling alone.
Technologies such as feedstock recycling, in which plastics are turned back into basic chemicals, must be embraced, said Neil Mayne, head of the APME's technical and environmental centre. "We are seeking to improve mechanical recycling on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best match between plastics recyclate available and end market demand with the greatest environmental gain," he added.
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