Mechanical recycling has been at the forefront of Europe’s plastic recycling efforts for several years. Its rise can be attributed to its relative simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to handle large volumes of plastic waste1.
The process of mechanical recycling, which involves the collection, sorting, cleaning, shredding, melting, and extrusion of plastic waste, has been refined and optimized over the years. This has resulted in increased efficiency and output, making it a key component of Europe’s plastic waste management strategy1.
In 2021, the production of mechanically recycled plastic in Europe reached 8.2 million tons, demonstrating the significant growth of this industry2. This growth has been driven by a combination of factors, including regulatory support, technological advancements, and increasing consumer awareness of the environmental impact of plastic waste2.
Regulatory support, in the form of recycling targets and legislation promoting the use of recycled plastic, has played a crucial role in the rise of mechanical recycling. The European Circular Economy Strategy, for instance, sets ambitious recycling targets and promotes the use of recycled materials3.
Technological advancements have also contributed to the growth of mechanical recycling. Innovations in sorting and processing technologies have improved the efficiency and quality of mechanical recycling, enabling the production of higher-quality recycled plastic1.
Finally, increasing consumer awareness of the environmental impact of plastic waste has driven demand for products made from recycled plastic. This has incentivized businesses to incorporate recycled plastic into their products and packaging, further boosting the mechanical recycling industry4.
In conclusion, the rise of mechanical recycling in Europe is a testament to the region’s commitment to managing plastic waste and promoting a circular economy. With ongoing advancements and support, mechanical recycling is set to play an even more significant role in Europe’s plastic recycling efforts.