13 December 2022
by Alex Brinded

Report finds 0.75MT of UK plastic packaging goes to waste

Plastic recycling charity RECOUP estimates that 750,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastic packaging is not collected for recycling every year in the UK.

Different coloured recycling bins
© pawel_czerwinski / unsplash

The UK Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey report declares an opportunity for upcoming legislative changes to help bridge the gap between the current capture rate and the amount of plastic packaging on the market every year.

The report states that more than 600,000tpa of household plastic packaging was collected for recycling in 2021, a 4% increase from 2020. This equates to a collection rate of 43% for all household plastic packaging in the UK that is captured at kerbside.

Recycling targets are set to increase every year up until 2030 until they reach 62% under the upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legistlation. RECOUP says greater volumes of currently uncollected material will need to be captured.

Local authorities were found to have reject rates of up to 35% of material, with an average of 13%, which the charity says shows the need for clear and consistent communications.

'With the current flurry of information and activity from Defra, particularly relating to the introduction of EPR, and the funding mechanisms and mandated collection of plastic films for recycling at kerbside, hopefully local authorities and waste management providers will have the confidence and assurance to adapt and invest in their collection schemes, to see the capture of more of these currently lost resources,' says Tom McBeth, Policy & Infrastructure Projects Manager.

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Alex Brinded

Staff Writer