Europe is in the lead for plastic recycling patents

Most global patents aiming at making plastic a more sustainable material – also with important recycling actions – come from Europe. Indeed, Europe accounted for 30% of total patents in the sector in the decade 2010-2019.

This important figure was taken from a recent report of the European Patent Office (EPO, you can download it here), which was issued at the end of 2021: ‘Patents for tomorrow’s plastics – Global innovation trends in recycling, circular design and alternative sources’ (by Sole 24 ore).

Germany is the leading country where the highest share of patented activities is observed (32%), followed by France (17%), the Netherlands (11%) and Italy (4%). In particular, Italy reached the 4th place for plastic recycling technologies, after Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Moreover, it has the second-highest degree of specialization in waste recover and mechanical recycling.

What are the main companies that applied for plastic recycling patents?

Here are some of them.


This French multinational company, which has always been committed to reduce waste, is constantly testing the production of tyres that can maintain excellent performance, even with more sustainable materials  such as recycled packaging and bottles.


Recycling as an essential key to limit the environmental impact and undertake positive circular economy activities – with this in mind, this German company is focusing on designing innovative solutions that can contribute to plastic mechanical recycling, too.


This company is specialized in the production of polymer additives and stabilizing technologies that can slow down plastic material degradation, making its recycling easier and more effective.


ENI, which has been focusing on a circular strategy following the Ellen MacArthur foundation, is especially investing in plastic reuse and recover, constantly developing new waste recycling techniques.  

Fater SpA

This company launched the experimental phase of a recycling machine for absorbent hygiene products, with a view to recover waste and generate new secondary raw materials. Indeed, it will be possible to recover no less than 150 kg of high-quality plastic, which is intended to be reused in order to manufacture new products.


This company, which is one of the signatories of the EU Circular Plastics Alliance and has been engaged in sustainability projects for some time, is developing  advanced mechanical recycling systems to boost the circular economy and prevent pollution caused by plastic waste.

Sectors where an increased demand was observed: health, cosmetics and detergents, followed by packaging, electronics and textiles.

An increasing number of industrial and commercial clusters finally realized that they could play a strategic role in reducing plastic waste only through technological process – for the benefit of the economy, without forgetting the positive impact on buyers and consumers.

Europe is one of the key innovators in this industry, and that’s an important signal – we’ll be confidently waiting for further evolution.

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