Hard Plastics are defined as plastics with the emphasis being on hard, rigid plastic materials that cannot be recycled in the standard recycling supply chain. These types of plastics include: PET Polyethylene includes non-food related hard plastic containers; HDPE High Density Polyethylene includes plastic pipes, plastic lumber, buckets, and plastic crates; PVC or polyvinyl chloride includes PVC piping, cassette trays, and plastic CD cases ; PP Polypropylene includes prescription bottles, oil funnels, and other hard rigid plastic casing ; PS Polystyrene includes license plate frames and light switch plates
According to the Report “Plastics – the Facts 2011” from Plastic Europe, in 2011 there were 275 Mtons of plastics produced worldwide. According to the same Report, the amount of total plastics waste generation is 25 Mtons/year, with 58% of it being recovered, transformed in energy or recycled. The precious plastic waste being disposed of in landfill is steadily decreasing every year, with an average rate of 3.9% a year. Recycling itself accounts for 6.0 Mtons, while recovery and energy recovery account for 14.3 and 8.3 Mtons respectively.
Hard plastic collection represent currently only the 0,25% of the solid urban fraction collected in the catchment area of ETRA, with 50 tons being collected every year. Recent calculations reveal that 2’000 tons are disposed of in landfill, whit obvious environmental consequences and loss of precious recyclable material. The major fraction of polymers in bulky, hard plastics (toys, garden furniture, household components…) is represented by PP and PE.