The recycling rate of plastic packaging waste in the EU increased to 42.4% in 2016, up from 24% in 2005, according to research from Eurostat. The increase of more than 18 percentage points was a trend observed across all EU member states with the exception of Estonia, which saw recycling rates of plastic packaging waste drop by just under 1%.
For the purposes of this research, recycling rate means the total quantity of recycled packaging waste, divided by the total quantity of generated packaging waste.
In eight member states, more than half of plastic packaging waste was recycled. These were:
- Lithuania (74%)
- Cyprus (64%)
- Slovenia (62%)
- Czechia (59%)
- Bulgaria (53%)
- Slovakia and the Netherlands (52% each)
- Sweden (51%)
Other states with high recycling rates included Poland (46.9%), Germany (48.4%), Spain (45.5%), and the UK (44.9%).
Member states with the least recycling of plastic packaging waste (less than one-third) included Luxembourg (33%), Hungary and Ireland (31%), Malta (29%), France (26%), and Finland and Estonia (25%).