In an article published on June 11, 2019, the trade organization Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) announced the launch of a new Guidance on quality sorting of plastic packaging.

PRE recapitulated that currently in Europe “only 42%” of plastic packaging waste is recycled, thus there is a “need for more sustainable and effective waste management practices.” Since both the amount and the quality of recycled output are “directly affected by the quality of sorting practices,” the optimization of the latter would “ultimately secure high-quality input for recyclers.”

To facilitate such optimization, the PRE’s guidance on sorting “provides an overview of the best sorting practices and presents a basic configuration that is indispensable for the adequate sorting of plastic packaging waste.” The proposed workflow should include automatic sorting “through a series of consecutive steps, increasing the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of establishing highly refined waste streams.” In addition, it should provide for “removing contamination and sorting out packaging according to polymer types, and optionally by color and product categories.” The guidance also advocates for “a standardization, as well as harmonization of such sorting practices, as this would ensure a more uniform and reliable flow of materials towards recycling facilities.”

The PRE’s vision is “to create a system where all the complementing steps, such as separate packaging waste collection, harmonized sorting standards and bales quality checks are optimized and equally enforced at the Member State level.” This would allow to “capture the value of plastic waste and transform it into new high-quality products, produced in accordance with the highest European safety standards.”

Read more

Plastics Recyclers Europe (June 11, 2019). “Establishing highly refined plastic packaging waste streams.

PlastEurope (June 17, 2019). “PLASTICS RECYCLING EUROPE. PRE offers sorting guidance / More standardization.”


Plastics Recyclers Europe (June 2019). “Guidance on quality sorting of plastic packaging.(pdf)