This provides a huge opportunity for upcoming legislative changes, which will help bridge the gap between the UK current capture rate and what plastic packaging is placed on the market each year.
The newly launched report has found that over 600,000 tonnes of household plastic packaging was collected for recycling in 2021, an increase of 4% on the previous year. This is an overall collection rate of 43% for all household plastic packaging in the UK that is captured at kerbside.
With recycling targets set to increase year-on-year, up to 62% in 2030 proposed in upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, greater volumes of currently uncollected material will need to be captured. The report found that in 2021 over 200,000 tonnes of plastic bottles, 250,000 tonnes of plastic pots, tubs and trays, and over 300,000 tonnes of plastic films and flexibles were not collected, offering huge potential for increasing capture rates with the correct legislative drivers.
The report also found that local authorities experience material reject rates of up to 35%, with an average of 13%, highlighting the need for clear and consistent communications to citizens to help reduce contamination and improve material quality.