Figures from European non-profit trade association Petcore Europe reveal that Europe recycled approximately 65 billion PET bottles in 2013.

Data showed that the country witnessed a 7% increase in the number of recycled bottles compared with 2012.

The association said that these numbers prove that PET is the most recycled plastic material in Europe.

Petcore Europe chairman Roberto Bertaggia said: "The demand for PET as the packaging material of choice continues to grow, penetrating new markets with innovative applications.

"The extraordinary ability of PET to be recycled and reused into a wide variety of end uses is part of this success story and is helping towards the movement to a circular economy in Europe.

"From a sustainability perspective, our industry is thrilled that last year the equivalent of around 56% of PET containers in circulation were collected for reclamation and recycling.

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"There is however still a huge disparity in collection rates amongst the member states and all stakeholders need to work together to align the collection processes to deliver the increased recycling objectives recently announced by the European Commission (EC)."

"We still have considerable spare recycling capacity to enable us to recycle more."

The association works for the recognition of PET as an environmentally sustainable packaging material and to offer innovative packaging solutions from a recycling perspective.

Petcore Europe board member Casper van den Dungen said: "The overall collection of PET bottles in Europe at 1.64Mt represents a 7% increase on last year.

"We still have considerable spare recycling capacity to enable us to recycle more.

"However, one of the factors that will reduce our ability to utilise our available spare capacity is the increasing complexity of some collected baled bottles.

"Improved and standardised collection and sorting processes would help address this situation."

Image: Europe sees a 7% increase in PET bottle recycling. Photo: courtesy of Natara /