UK households collect close to 500.000 tonnes of plastics packaging

According to RECOUP, over 492,623 tonnes of plastics packaging was collected from UK households in 2014/15, an increase of around 30,000 tonnes or 6% on the previous year.

The 2015 Survey has reflected the changes in the estimated quantity of plastic packaging placed on the market. When measuring these against the quantities collected for recycling it can be confirmed the collection rate for plastic pots, tubs and trays has now increased to 30%. The collection rate for plastic bottles is 57%.

Whilst plastic bottles continue their modest and steady trajectory with a 3.5% increase (11,500 tonnes), plastic pots, tubs and trays have increased by over 12% (16,700 tonnes). With continued increase in service provision and collections of this plastic format, pots, tubs and trays now make up 30% of the total collections of rigid plastic packaging from UK households.

Steve Morgan of RECOUP commented: “With the overall recycling rate for rigid plastic packaging at 44% there is too much material that is not collected for recycling. This lost material highlights again the importance of communicating regularly and effectively with consumers, particularly that plastics can be recycled from all rooms around the home.”

There are significant costs to this lost material. With disposal costs for the plastic bottles not collected for recycling estimated to be £25m, and costs for disposal of pots, tubs and trays estimated to be anywhere between £37m and £53m, there is much more work to be done to increase collection levels.


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