Key findings on global mechanical plastics recycling market

29 February 2024

Following the recent release of our latest market report Mechanical Plastics Recycling - the Global Market, author Elizabeth Carroll discusses key findings and important discussion points.

Video transcript
Hello, my name is Elizabeth Carroll. I am a consultant here at AMI focused on polymer demand and recycling and sustainability. AMI is a company providing market intelligence and events to the plastics industry, focused on the downstream polymer processing industry.

Plastics recycling and sustainability has come to the forefront of the plastics processing industry in recent years. Although mechanical recycling has been around for decades, it is only recently that mechanical recycling and chemical recycling are making the headlines they are.

Slide 1

Mechanical recycling capacity is established on a global scale in all regions of the world. By 2030, we are anticipating close to 80 million tonnes of mechanical recycling capacity on stream. In comparison, we are only expecting close to 10 million tonnes of chemical recycling capacity on stream. Therefore, mechanical recycling is going to be the dominant recycling technology processing plastic waste for the foreseeable future.

AMI estimates that 55 million tonnes of recyclate produced by a mechanical recycling process will be available in 2030. That figure may seem like a large figure, however, when put into perspective, against the volume of plastic waste actually entering the waste stream in 2030, it represents a very low recycling rate of 16.5%.


In 2023 China recycled the highest volume of plastic waste in the world, followed by Europe and North America. Although China recycles the highest volume of plastics waste, it is by no means the most developed, in fact, Europe and North Asia have to most developed waste management systems. Through these systems, they can collect the largest volume of fractions, including films, bottles and pots, tubs, and trays. Although they are collected, in some countries in these regions, the tendency is still to send the collected recyclables to incineration for energy rather than mechanical recycling.


Polyethylene is the most insightful polymer in the world. This is due to the well-established collection of HDPE bottles and flasks, along with commercial packaging films. PET follows close behind. Where there are not well-established collection systems in place or bottle deposit scheme, the informal sector take over and collect vast quantities of PET bottles.

I hope I have highlighted to you the importance of mechanical recycling in the plastics sustainability agenda. It's been a pleasure sharing with you a few brief slides on my report and the findings on the global mechanical recycling industry.

If you would like any more information, please click here or get in touch with me directly at elizabeth.carroll@amiplastics.com

Thank you for watching.