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UK Plastic bottle collection rate breaks 50%

Over half of all plastic bottles used in the UK were collected for recycling in 2011, according to figures released by plastics recycling body Recoup.

According to the organisation, the bottle recycling rate for 2011 was 52%, up from 48.5% the previous year. This means that over 306,000 tonnes, roughly 6.7 billion bottles were collected throughout the year.

The findings were unveiled by Recoup chief executive Stuart Foster at the group’s recent annual general meeting. Mr Foster claimed that there is still much work to do to capture the remaining 48% of bottles that were not collected across and said that the organisation is exploring opportunities to improve collaboration across the supply chain.

With the plastic packaging recycling target set to rise from 32% at present to 57% in 2017, increasing the volume of bottles collected for recycling is thought to be the best method of achieving this, as the collection and reprocessing infrastructure is already established.

However, it is thought that the bottle collection rate will need to increase beyond 70% by 2017 for this to happen, and with increases in the percentage of bottles collected for recycling appearing to slow down in recent years, it is not clear if this will be possible.

The survey indicates that the collection of rigid plastic packaging has also increased, with 120,000 tonnes of pots, tubs and trays collected for recycling, a huge jump from the 76,300 tonnes collected in 2010.

The rate of collection of rigid plastic packaging has grown significantly in recent years, with concerns that the UK does not yet have sufficient sorting and processing capacity to handle the material still widespread. And, Recoup has reiterated its position that it only supports collections of wider ranges of plastics where suitable sorting infrastructure and end markets are available.

Recoup also announced that it has secured funding to update its ‘Recyclability by Design’ document, aimed at plastic packaging designers, manufacturers and retailers. The updated version of the document, which offers advice for the design of packaging to make it easy to recycle, is due to be published in early 2013

Source: www.letsrecycle.com

Related links: Recoup

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