German trade association, Forum PET, has reported that bottle deposits are responsible for consistently high recycling rates for PET bottles in Germany.
The organisation said that 93.5% of PET bottles were recycled in 2015, in large part thanks to the deposits placed on disposable bottles.
“Consumers keep the material cycle running at a high level by returning bottles, much to the benefit of the environment,” said Dr. Isabell Schmidt, director of the Forum PET within IK Kunststoffverpackungen plastic packaging which commissioned the study.
According to the study most customers return the bottles via reverse vending machines. With this in mind, Forum PET said that it will continue to endorse the deposit system.
On average, the report found that 95.7%of all PET bottles were said to be collected in separate collections, with the remainder disposed of in the household waste and used for energy production.
2015 saw PET bottles containing an average of 26% recycled materials compared to 24% in 2013. “We would have hoped for an even higher increase, but we have to appreciate the PET industry’s commitment all the more considering the adverse price development,” commented Schmidt.
The study included figures for PET beverage bottles except milk and dairy, and covered the entire PET bottle value chain from production and consumption to collection, return, export and recycling, summarising PET usage in beverage packaging in Germany in a closed materials cycle in absolute quantities.
The study relied on bottle collection in Germany as well as interviews in the PET processing industry.
The report also found that further increases in recycled PET levels within the recycling cycle is only a matter of thanks to a coming increase in PET recycling capacity.
The authors also noted that lower price volatility alone would encourage more use of recycled PET, which has already passed the 55% mark by a significant margin in some disposable PET bottles.
“PET bottles take the lion’s share in recycling rates compared to other forms of packaging,” concluded Schmidt.
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