Today, life without plastics would be inconceivable. Thanks to their many advantages, e.g. strength, chemical resistance, limitless formability and colouration, and low weight, they quickly penetrated all fields of application from the construction, automotive, household goods and toy industry to the packaging sector, pharmaceuticals and medical technology.
This resounding market success has also been associated with growth in the quantity of plastics waste. Germany was the first country to set up rules for the recovery of plastics waste and establish them on the market. In the meantime, many countries in Europe have addressed the issue and developed highly successful strategies for collection and recovery. According to surveys by PlasticsEurope, about 47m tonnes of plastics were consumed in the 27 countries of the EU plus Switzerland and Norway in 2011, 40% for non-durable and 60% for durable applications. In the same year, some 25m tonnes of waste plastics were collected, 40% going to landfill and 60% being recovered. The waste from collection systems for used packages accounted for over 60% of this, followed by products from the construction, automotive and electronics sectors...
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