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Efficient collection boosts plastic bottle tonnages

Significant growth in the collection of plastic bottles has been fuelled by efficient collection methods and residents increasing awareness, a Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)-funded survey has found.

The Annual Local Authorities Plastic Collection Survey 2008 revealed a 68% increase in local authority collections of plastic bottles. Tonnages grew from 108,453 tonnes in 2006 to 181,887 tonnes in 2007.

The 2007 figure is equivalent to about 4.5 billion bottles a year, while UK homes use 13 billion bottles a year.

Results also show that kerbside collections helped increase the amounts collected because 81% (147,405 tonnes) of material arrived through this method in 2007. This was a 77% hike from amounts collected in 2006.

Continued growth in plastic bottle collections was predicted by the researchers, based on maintaining past performance. If trends continue, collection rates could increase from 35% last year to 50% in 2008 and 71% in 2009, after which the growth rate is predicted to slow.

Other household plastics were also examined. Results showed an increase from 2006 in the number of local authorities making these collections. The findings showed there are still barriers to collecting mixed plastics, such as contamination and end markets.

WRAP plastics technology manager Paul Davidson said: The figure for collecting other household plastics is also encouraging but additional work needs to be completed in this area to support local authorities who are involved in or keen to develop their mixed plastics collection.


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