The amount of plastics packaging collected from UK households reached 492,623 tonnes in in 2014/15, an increase of 30,000 tonnes, or six percent, on the previous year.
The results were published in RECOUP’s latest UK Household Plastics Collection Survey, which reflects the changes in the estimated quantity of plastics packaging placed on the market.
When measuring these against the quantities collected for recycling, findings from the report confirm the collection rate for plastic pots, tubs and trays has now increased to 30 percent. The collection rate for plastic bottles is 57 percent.
Whilst plastic bottles continue their modest and steady trajectory with a 3.5 percent increase (11,500 tonnes), plastic pots, tubs and trays have increased by over 12 percent (16,700 tonnes).
With continued increase in service provision and collections of this plastic format, pots, tubs and trays now make up 30 percent of the total collections of rigid plastic packaging from UK households.
“With the overall recycling rate for rigid plastic packaging at 44 percent, 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,” commented Steve Morgan of RECOUP.
There are significant costs to this lost material, says RECOUP. 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, the organisation says there is “much more work to be done” to increase collection levels.
RECOUP said the survey’s findings show the need to promote existing collection services and engage consumers’ through positive behaviour change. This, it added, is “at the core” to tackling ongoing ambitious recycling targets and circular economy aspirations.