On December 10, 2020, industry association Plastics Europe announced the publication of its annual report presenting demand and waste data for European plastics production during the year 2019. The report provides a range of consumption data including plastic demand by country, product segment, resin type, and sector. The waste data provided describes trends of collecting post-consumer plastic waste as well as end-of-life processing rates by country and type (recycling, energy recovery, landfill).
The report identifies packaging as the product segment with the largest demand for produced plastics (39%), followed by the building and construction (20%), and automotive sector (9.6%). The resin types in greatest annual demand were polypropylene (PP; near 10 million tons), low-density polyethylene (LDPE; near 8.5 million tons), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE; near 6.5 million tons). Packaging articles made up most of the demand for these resins as well as for polyethylene terephthalate (PET; near 4 million tons).
Based on data from 2018, on average 42% of the 17.8 million tons of post-consumer plastic packaging waste generated in Europe is reported to have been collected for recycling, while 39.5% was sent for energy recovery (incineration) and 18.5% was landfilled. Since 2006, the report found that there has been a gradual shift from sending used plastic packaging to landfills towards recycling and energy recovery (a relative increase of 92% for recycling, 84% for energy recovery, and a decrease of 54% for landfills). The report further provides a more detailed set of waste treatment information for a select few countries including Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain. A section of the report also presents data on the use of Europe’s recycled plastic and found that 46% is used in the production of building and construction materials, 24% in packaging, and 13% in the agricultural sector.
PlasticsEurope (December 10, 2020). “Deep dive into ‘Plastics: The Facts 2020’.”
PlasticsEurope (December 10, 2020). “Plastics – The Facts 2020.”