Recoup Chief Executive, Stuart Foster, has announced a milestone figure in household plastic bottle recycling rates of 52 percent for 2011.
Giving Recoup members a sneak preview of the 2012 Recoup Plastic Recycling Survey, Foster admitted that he had hoped to make this significant announcement earlier, but the growth in bottle recycling, whilst still positive, had slowed in recent years.
The 52 percent relates to some 306,000 tonnes, or 6.7 billion bottles, but there were questions over how the remaining 48 percent could be accessed. Mr Foster noted that there is still more work to do, and Recoup and its members are exploring opportunities to improve supply chain collaboration and influence positive recycling behaviour change.
In addition to bottles, over 120,000 tonnes of rigid plastic packaging such as pots, tubs and trays were also collected from households for recycling last year, according to the data. Mr Foster indicated that this fraction has witnessed significant increases in recent years, but Recoup maintained its position of supporting collections of wider ranges of plastics only when suitable sorting infrastructure and end markets are available and auditable. He noted that plastic recycling developments needed to be economically viable and sustainable in the longer term, and questioned whether the required infrastructure really existed at present to handle the increasing tonnages, and identified the potential impact on material quality.
On a separate topic, it was announced that Recoup has secured funding to update its ‘Recyclability By Design’ document aimed at plastic packaging designers, brand owners and retailers to improve understanding of recycling considerations during the pack development and procurement process. This would be available in early 2013.