The Recyclability Tool
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PRE recycling streams

In Europe corresponding recycling paths have already been established for certain polymers and particular types of packaging. Packaging which can be assigned to one of these streams using current sorting technology, will be considered recyclable. Plastics Recyclers Europe have specific working groups corresponding to each of these waste streams.

These are 

  • PET-bottles
  • PE-LD (including small films and PE-HD/PP films)
  • PE-HD/PP (including Crates & Pallets)
  • Pots, Tubs & Trays (polyolefins)
  • PVC from the building industry (no packaging)
  • Technical Plastics (electrical and electronic devices; no packaging)

Recovery methods

In principle used plastic packagings can be recovered through three methods:

  • In mechanical recycling shredded plastics are cleaned, sorted by type and regranulated, compounded or directly transformed into articles. In these processes their chemical structure remains intact. Hence compared virgin material production recycling saves a lot of resources and CO2-emmissions. In Europe about 40% of all plastic packaging waste is recovered mechanically. more (PRE)
  • In Europe and Japan feedstock recycling presently plays a much less important role. With pressure and heatthe chemical polymer structure is cracked and transformed back to feedstock products like oil and gas. These can susequently be used e.g. as reducing agent in steel production. more (PRE)
  • In too many cases plastics still are incinerated. As long as at least the energy content oft he plastics is being recovered in an incinerator this is considered as energy recovery. The energy from this process can be used to produce electricity, steam and heat.  more

Assess, improve and endorse the recyclability of your packaging

In January 2018, the European Commission released European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy where it urged the plastics industry and its value chain to encourage and ensure a shift in production of plastic packaging. The plastics industry’s business as usual is at crossroads, as recyclability is becoming a priority aspect in packaging design. This has triggered several brands to announce pledges to work towards increased recyclability of packaging. More

Recycling starts in the product design phase. The key to more sustainable plastics is better design of plastics and plastics products.

Further information

Plastics Recyclers Europe

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71
1000 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 742 96 82
Fax: +32 2 732 63 12