UK Plastic Bottle Recycling Rate Surpasses 50 Percent

Recoup says the recycling rate for plastic bottles in the U.K. reached 52 percent in 2011.

October 24, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Municipal / IC&I Plastics
Stuart Foster, CEO of United Kingdom-based Recoup, has announced the household plastic bottle recycling rate in the U.K. reached 52 percent in 2011. In highlighting the figures contained in the 2012 Recoup Plastic Recycling Survey, Foster says that while the recycling rate topped 50 percent, the growth in bottle recycling has slowed in recent years.
The survey finds that 306,000 metric tons of plastic bottles were collected for recycling. However, there are questions over how the remaining 48 percent could be accessed. In a statement, Foster notes that there is still much more work to do, and Recoup and its members are exploring opportunities to improve supply chain collaboration and influence positive recycling behavior change. The full report is expected to be released in late November.
In addition to bottles, more than 120,000 metric tons of rigid plastic packaging such as pots, tubs and trays also were collected from households for recycling last year, according to the data. Foster indicates 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 says plastic recycling developments need to be economically viable and sustainable in the longer term and questions whether the required infrastructure really exists at present to handle the increasing tonnages and identify 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. The document is expected to be available in early 2013.