The road to 90% PET bottle collection by 2029

Petcore Europe launches communications campaign and roadmap to pave the way to full circularity

As part of a wider communications campaign to raise recognition of the role that PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can play in helping Europe achieve a fully circular and carbon neutral economy, Petcore Europe, through a focal group of its membership, are launching a 5-step policy roadmap, reaffirming their strong commitment to the European Union’s 2029 90% PET beverage bottle collection target.

PET, a sustainable packaging material for Europe

 PET is 100% recyclable and is the most recycled plastic packaging material in Europe. PET is used in everyday products like food and drink and PPE equipment in the fight against covid-19. PET is easily identified on products by the ‘number 1’ recycling symbol. Petcore Europe and its members are encouraging citizens to “Recycle the 1” and urge European legislators to put in place a regulatory framework which ensures EU targets can be met.

A clear and forward-looking regulatory framework

 Achieving our ambition to build a fully circular economy will be a collaborative effort, requiring industry and legislators to work hand in hand. The review of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive provides a concrete opportunity for legislators to take serious steps towards achieving full circularity. This can be done by supporting recyclers to achieve higher recycling rates and banning the land filling and incineration of PET bottles.

To reach the EU’s 90% collection target for recyclable plastics by 2029, a smart waste management system at the EU-level is needed. Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) and segregated curb side PET collection schemes are examples of the systems we need to recycle all PET, close the loop and eliminate plastic waste. The European PET value chain is equipped for increased collection and currently has spare capacity to recycle over 11 billion more bottles a year. By enabling an EU-wide smart waste management system, more bottles can be collected for recycling.

“If we are serious about the circular economy, then investment in better collection and sorting is paramount – we need a smart waste management now. Although it will require hard work, collaboration, and investment in waste management, Petcore Europe is confident that Europe can achieve 90% collection of PET bottles by 2029.” – Christian Crépet, Executive Director at Petcore Europe

Empowering citizens to recycle: a commitment to consumers

Demonstrating good separation practices and promoting the importance of correct recycling is a key cornerstone of reaching both collection and recycling targets. Petcore Europe is committed to developing a pan-European consumer campaign – beginning initially in France and Germany – which aims to empower consumers to recycle PET packaging and help contribute to achieving a fully circular economy and closed-loop system. The campaign will provide key resources to aid the consumer in understanding how to recycle PET packaging better and build greater trust in the recycling system.

“We all need to do our part to bring our bottles into a fully closed system. In addition to implementing a smart collection and waste management system at European level, empowering consumers with the knowledge about the recycling system and building back trust in that system is the missing piece of the puzzle.” – Sebastian Lemp, Corporate Public Affairs and Circular Economy Specialist at Alpla

Here you find the 5-step policy roadmap