Recycling plastics is expensive and inefficient, says study
The environmental benefits of recycling plastic are relatively low compared to the costs involved, according to a study by the Technical University of Rapperswil in the canton of Saint Gallen.
The study found that the cost effectiveness is ‘modest’ compared to that of recycling PET bottles.
In recent years, several new plastics collections other than PET have been created in different cantons. The study, carried out in eight German-speaking cantons, analysed the environmental benefits and costs of different methods of recovery and disposal of plastics.
Recycling is only possible for some of the plastic waste collected. The rest is used as fuel in cement works or is incinerated with household waste. The study found that the cost-benefit ratio of selective sorting of plastics is about one third of the efficiency of the PET recycling system.
The authors of the study say that its findings will serve as a basis for future discussions and policy decisions on recycling of plastics.