Compelling Facts about plastics

In 2007, 9 countries (representing 29% of the population in EU27+NO/CH) recovered more than 80% of their used plastics and are near to realising their diversion from landfill vision.

The plastics industry - comprising PlasticsEurope, EuPC, EuPR and EPRO - has published its 18 th report on trends in production, demand and recovery of plastics called the "Compelling Facts about Plastics 2007".

In the 27 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland (EU27+NO/CH), recovery of plastics reached 50% - up 1% on 2006 - mainly due to strong growth in recycling.
This was achieved in a year with good growth in demand - 3% - to a total of 52.5 million tonnes across EU27+NO/CH, again exceeding GDP growth.

The most important facts about the European plastics industry

Plastics continue to be a global success story with Europe (EU27+Norway (NO) and Switzerland (CH)) remaining a major manufacturing region, producing about 25% of the total estimated worldwide plastics production of 260 million tonnes.

For the whole of the plastics industry - producers, converters and machinery manufacturers - the overall turnover in EU27+NO/ CH 2006 was in excess of 300 billion euro, with the industry employing more than 1.6 million people.

The demand by converters for plastics in Europe (EU27+NO/CH) increased from 51 million tonnes in 2006 to 52.5 million tonnes in 2007, an increase of 3%.

The recovery rate of post-consumer end-of-life plastics now stands at 50% in EU27+NO/CH (up 1% point on the previous year) and disposal stands at 50% (down by 1% point compared to 2006). The recycling rate for post-consumer plastics has increased to 20.4% - up from 19.5% in 2006. Energy recovery remains unchanged at 29.2%.

Nine of the EU27+NO/CH states recover more than 80% of their used plastics - one more than last year (Norway). 7 of these states are among the top 8 best performers for recycling and together they represent the top 9 states for energy recovery. Their performance is achieved by adopting an integrated resource management strategy incorporating a range of complementary options, addressing different streams with the best environmental and economic option for each one.

The decoupling in EU27+NO/CH of the growth in used plastics and the volume of plastics waste going to disposal continued. Used plastics going to disposal remained stable at 12.4 million tonnes/year against a growth in plastics use of 3%.