The potential of flexible polyethylene recycling

September 10th, 2019

Plastic Recyclers Europe has released a new report outlining the potential to greatly increase the recycling of polyethylene. With the converters’ demand of around 9 million tonnes, polyethylene type LLDPE/LDPE is currently the second biggest resin produced in EU. This is an high demonstration of high recycling potential, even if today only 20% of the resin is actually recycled, so that considerable amounts of this material end up in landfills. Reaching higher targets is made difficult by a number of challenges that need to be overcome in order to reach beyond the low hanging fruit.

Whether recycled, polyethylene can be used to create a wide range of products. Plastics Recyclers Europe published a paper identifying the prerequisites for increasing recycling of flexible polyethylene into a high-quality raw material while ensuring a sustainable and cost-effective process.

First of all, in EU must be introduced harmonized collection and sorting processes. Secondly, plastic packaging should be entirely recyclable. Recycling guidelines must be followed by manufacturer when launching a product. Lastly, researches are needed to enhance the quality of material. Working towards safe, light and functional packaging while ensuring its recyclability at the end of its life is a must. The new legislative measures introduced by the reviewed Waste Package, the Plastics Strategy and the Single Use Directive oblige the industry to take immediate and decisive steps in production and waste management of plastics packaging.


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