Kerbside Collection Of Plastics Not Enough To Hit Packaging Targets

06-12-13(1)According to the findings of the Recoup “UK Household Plastics Collection Survey”, the provision of kerbside collection infrastructure alone will not allow the UK to reach the 2013-2017 recycling targets.

The report provides an in-depth review of the infrastructure in place and informs stakeholders on the core raw data and information such as current plastics packaging collection levels, recycling rates, collection methods and practices, and performance against the UK 2013-2017 plastics packaging recycling target.

The report shows that that although there is a significant increase in the plastic bottle-recycling rate (from 52 percent to 58 percent) there has only been a small increase in the number of plastic bottles collected.

Key Data in the report shows:

Collection Levels and Recycling Rates

  • it is estimated that nearly 1.2m tonnes of plastics packaging are consumed by households in the UK
  • from this 1.2m tonnes, it is reported that 440,401 tonnes is collected for recycling – an overall 37 percent recycling rate
  • the overall tonnages collected by scheme type (kerbside and bring) and plastic format (plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays) is (see inforgraphic below):

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 08.45.49

  • although there is only a minor increase in the number of plastic bottles collected, new plastics packaging consumption data has created a significant increase the plastic bottle recycling rate, Increasing from 52 percent to 58 percent
  • there is a 19 percent recycling rate for pots, tubs and trays.

Local Authority Household Collection Provision

  • at the end of March 2012 391 (96 percent) local authorities of the 407 local authorities in the UK provide a kerbside collection service that includes plastic bottles
  • 244 local authorities collect pots, tubs and trays – 60 percent of local authorities
  • 65 local authorities collect plastic film – 16 percent of local authorities

With 96 percent of local authorities providing a kerbside collection scheme for dry recyclables that includes plastic bottles, the average plastic bottle collection rate per household has only experienced modest increases in recent years and has plateaued, according to the report.

Recoup – “This is evidence that the provision of kerbside collection infrastructure alone will not allow the UK to reach the 2013-2017 recycling targets”

“This is evidence that the provision of kerbside collection infrastructure alone will not allow the UK to reach the 2013-2017 recycling targets,” Recoup commented. “The barriers to increased collection need to be clearly identified and addressed, to ensure all householders are using the service provided for dry recyclables, and that all plastic bottles and as many other plastics requested by the Local Authority are placed in the recyclables collection container.”

It says that although collections of pots, tubs and trays have continued to increase, but the lower than expected collection tonnage could be due to far more refined data being collected this year. With 60 percent of local authorities collecting pots, tubs and trays, and collection levels are expected to rise significantly between 2013 and 2017.

“Investment in infrastructure for sorting technologies is now happening, however, end markets need to be developed to provide the necessary drivers for both implementing a collection for pots, tubs and trays and an outlet for the material that is already collected,” Recoup said.

“Sustainable pack designs will help, and Recoup is active in this area working across the plastics packaging supply and recycling chains to produce its Recyclability by Design guidance, with a revised version also now available for free download from the new Recoup website.”

For the full survey CLICK HERE

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