The graph shows collection rates over the last 20 years
RECOUP has reported that since the start of its annual ‘Household Plastics Collection Survey’ In 1994, the UK has collected over two million tonnes of plastic bottles and half a million tonnes of pots, tubs and trays for recycling.
This, estimates the recycling body, equates to nearly 50 billion bottles and trays saved from landfill in the last 20 years.
The research-based report, which provides an in-depth review of the services in place to collect household plastics for recycling in the UK, also reports that 464,433 tonnes of plastics packaging was collected from UK households in 2013 (this refers to the 2013 calendar and 2013/2014 financial year), an increase of 24,000 tonnes, or a 5.5 percent increase on the previous year.
At the end of March 2013, 400 of the 406 collection authorities in the UK provided a kerbside recycling collection that included plastic bottles. Recycling of plastic bottles, however, continues to plateau, with a modest increase of approximately 10,000 tonnes (three percent) from the previous year.
Consumer communications have become increasingly important, says RECOUP, stressing that future central support and financial investment from existing and new partners is “a priority.”
Some headline questions were asked in the 2014 Survey about future plans to deliver a plastics recycling communications campaign, and the results of these questions demonstrates consumer communications for plastics recycling are becoming high on the Local Authority agenda.
Steve Morgan, RECOUP Technical Manager, stated: “Consumer communications have very much risen to the fore of strategic thinking and it’s encouraging to see the plans and demand to run plastics recycling communications campaigns. We encourage all Local Authorities to use the Toolkit as it provides a wide range of resources to ensure consistency in any plastic packaging recycling communications. The resources could easily be used on Council websites or newsletters.”
With regards to pots, tubs and trays, the survey finds there has been a steady increase in collection levels, with 14,000 extra tonnes collected, an 11 percent rise on the previous year.
With 271 Local Authorities offering a kerbside collection that includes pots, tubs and trays this means only another 34 Local Authorities need to collect this plastic format before it has implications for OPRL (On Pack Recycling Label). The OPRL scheme aims to deliver a simple and consistent recycling message on both retailer and brand packaging to help consumers recycle more. Once 75 percent (305 Authorities) of Local Authorities collect plastic pots, tubs and trays the message can change from ‘check local recycling’ to ‘widely recycled’. If new schemes continue to be rolled out at the current rate, ‘widely recycled’ could be seen on pots, tubs and trays in early 2016.
The 2014 Survey is now available to download free of charge from the RECOUP website (www.recoup.org).