The collection, sorting and processing of disposed materials for use in other manufacturing processes.

There are two types of recycling:

  • Mechanical: the process of breaking down collected materials into smaller pieces through shearing or other physical means
  • Chemical: the process of breaking down collected materials into monomers and other basic chemical elements (“depolymerization”)

The recycling process is different for each material and location. Some materials require additional processing (i.e. cleaning, refining, etc.) than others. Additionally, some materials downgrade in quality or material integrity with each life, limiting the number of times they can recycled.

In many places around the world – including those with formalized waste management infrastructure – there is an “informal sector” of recyclers that capture valuable disposed materials and reintroduce them into the economy.


Veolia's plastics strategy


  • Today, most plastic packaging is used only once, 95% of its value is lost to the economy.
  • 32% of plastics escape collection, ending up in our oceans and urban drainage.
  • Globally, only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.


  • Securing sufficient quality feedstock in order to guarantee a quality of recycled plastic materials (PE, PP, PET, HDP, etc) that meets clients’ specifications.
  • Overcoming the “cost gap” due to low and volatile virgin prices.
  • Lack of regulatory enablers.


  • Veolia has established a European network of plastic recycling and compounding facilities producing high-quality resins; PE, PP, PET, HDPE, and PS., becoming a major player in the plastics recycling industry, integrated from collection to compounding.
  • Veolia has Implemented innovative separation technologies, such as:
    • Liquisort© – an advanced sorting technology that relies on magnetic density separation to sort mixed polymers (PE and PP).
    • Hybrid-UnPET process by URRC – a mechanical/chemical recycling process used to transform flakes into high-quality, certified food-grade secondary plastic materials. CleanPET© is the brand name for high-end recycled free flowing PET flakes.
    • Patented technology such as TSA2© – a sequential adaptive loop technology combined with optical sorting provides plastic polymers with purity of >98%, reused in electronic and automotive industry.
  • Veolia establishes strong partnerships with companies (Danone, SEB, Philips, among others) to improve the recyclability of products and utilization of secondary raw materials by coming in at the design stage of the products. 

Key benefits

  • Reduced leakage of plastics in natural systems.
  • Using recycled plastics reduces carbon footprint (for example, PET reduces GHG emissions by more than 70% compared to virgin PET.)
  • Help to capture plastic packaging material value.

Phototheque Veolia ES Limited - Chris George