PET drinks bottles – Masters of recycling

12 October 2015

PET drinks bottles - Masters of recycling

  • Preserving resources: 93.6% of all PET bottles are recycled
  • Results for recycling of compulsory-deposit one-way PET bottles are even better: 97.2%
  • Around 80% of PET recycling takes place in Germany

In Germany, 93.6% of PET bottles are recycled - an excellent rate for drinks packaging. This figure was determined by a new
representative market analysis carried out by GVM, the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung, for the year 2013.

The study, commissioned by the Forum PET in the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V., was the first to create a closed-loop model of the occurrence and recovery of PET bottles in Germany. The focus of the investigation was on PET bottles for almost all beverage segments, i.e. mineral water, soft drinks, fruit juices, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages, including both one-way and reusable bottles and compulsory-deposit and non-deposit bottles. Milk drinks did not form part of the study.

Very good recycling figures for PET one-way bottles
Results for recycling of compulsory-deposit one-way PET bottles, which represent the largest market segment in PET drinks bottles, look even better: here, the proportion of bottles recovered for recycling is as high as 97.2%. Consumers are largely to thank for
this high rate; they return 96% of deposit bottles to retailers, thus making for particularly efficient segregation. In some cases, even deposit bottles disposed of by consumers in the "Yellow Bag" are extracted and sent for recycling.

Around 80% of PET recycling now takes place in Germany. Only a small proportion is sent abroad for processing. At the same time, the demand for high-purity PET recyclates for use in food packaging is rising. In 2003, almost a third of PET recyclates produced domestically was already being used for the production of new PET bottles. Further consumers include manufacturers of textile fibres (29%) and industrial films (27%) as well as those producing for other applications such as belts or bottles for cleaning agents (11%).

Almost a quarter of PET bottles are made of recycled material
According to a GVM study, new PET bottles in 2013 consisted of an average of 24% recycled material (and 26% for compulsory-deposit one-way bottles). This is where the PET recovery cycle comes full circle. Thanks to high recycling rates and the increasing
use of recycled PET, beverage containers made of PET contribute significantly to recycling management and consequently to the preservation of resources in Germany.


Mara Hancker Communications & Economics

IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. German Association for Plastics Packagings and Films

Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade 43 , 61348 Bad Homburg / Germany

phone: +49 6172 92 66 66

mobile: +49 (0) 170 5875483

[email protected]


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