Study: Germany recycled more than 90% of PET bottles in 2015
- A new study from Forum PET found that Germany recycled 93.5% of its PET bottles and 97.9% of its one-way deposit PET bottles in 2015 — about three-times the U.S. diversion rate for PET — as reported by Plastics News.
- The study highlighted bottle deposits as the main reason for the high recycling rate, noting that most consumers in the country use reverse vending machines to return PET bottles.
- Forum PET also noted that the amount of PET being reused in bottles increased from 24% in 2013 to 26% in 2015. Overall, the developments are touted as impressive due to the tough market conditions for using recycled PET versus virgin material.
Germany's success with bottle deposits is a promising reminder for communities in the U.S. that have struggled with bottle redemption recently to keep pushing. In California, 363 bottle redemption centers have shut down this year, however a bill has been inspired to increase subsidies to redemption centers until April 1. Also in April, Oregon's bottle deposit value will increase from 5 cents per bottle to 10 cents, which will apply to containers including water, soda water, soft drinks, beer and malt beverage bottles.
While cities are making individual strides to encourage plastic bottle recycling, the nation has seen a slight decrease in the overall diversion rate for such items. The recycling rate for plastic bottles in the U.S. dropped from 31.7% in 2014 to 31.1% in 2015 and, while the decrease is minimal, improving it will need to remain a top industry priority to ensure that the rate doesn't drop much further.
Other regions such as Canada and the U.K. are also being encouraged to increase efforts in plastic bottle diversion. New data recently found that 44% of the total used plastic bottles in the U.K. are not recycled, however the bottles are still seen as a profitable material across the industry.
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