Recycling of household packaging: Review of the year 2023

In the year 2023, efforts to improve the recycling of household packaging have borne fruit, resulting in a recycling rate of 65.5%. This achievement is in line with the objectives established in the recently published specifications for the sector, aiming to increase the recycling rate from 63% in 2024 to 69% by 2029. Concerning graphic papers, the recycling rate reaches 60%, thus approaching the regulatory objective of 65% set for the year 2023 and expected to increase to 70% by 2029.

Revised calculation methodology

It should be noted that the calculation of the recycling rate has adopted a new harmonized European method, now excluding quantities which are not actually transformed into recycled material. This more precise approach differs from the previous method which was based on output volumes from sorting centers, and which overestimated the results by including impurities. This correction resulted in a reduction in the recycling rate, bringing it down to around 65.5%, compared to a previous estimate of 72%. Although this new estimate is more faithful to reality, it demonstrates progress towards a more precise and transparent measurement of the recycling rate.

Analysis by material type

By examining the specific data by material, it appears that two materials have already achieved their objectives: steel and glass, respectively recording a recycling rate of 86%. However, other materials such as paper and cardboard, aluminum and especially plastics, remain below expectations, with respective recycling rates of 63%, 36% and 24.5%.

Concerning paper-cardboard packaging, although their sorting is efficient, a significant increase in market demand impacts their recycling. On the other hand, a notable progression is observed for plastics, with an increase of more than 6% in recycled quantities, attributed to the simplification of the sorting process and the development of new recycling channels.