“Virgin polymer prices were very low,” Wood Mackenzie senior consultant Helen McGeough told Food Manufacture. “At the time, there was deep dismay in the industry at the lack of commitment from end-users.”
Some recycling businesses failed due to these and other adverse business conditions, McGeough explained.
“We’re in a very different place now,” she added. “The sentiment is that this is something we have to do. Targets for recycled content are being set by retailers and brand-owners.”
McGeough, who has authored a new report on western European markets for rPET, pointed out that the UK PET bottle recovery rate in 2017 was 58%, compared with just under 40% in 2012.
The EU Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy has also helped to sharpen industry focus, she said.
Meanwhile, targets and deadlines for efficient plastic packaging use have been launched by The Waste & Resources Action Programme for members of the UK Plastics Pact.