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Packaging recycling rockets

The proportion of packaging waste recycled in the UK has rocketed during the last two years.

A survey of local authorities has shown that in 2004 UK business recycled 66% of its 5.6 million tonnes of packaging waste, a massive rise from the paltry 7% recycled in 2002.

UK households, meanwhile, recycled around a third of all their packaging in 2004, an increase from around a quarter in 2002.

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Environment Quality Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "I welcome this new study which shows that households and businesses are recycling more than ever before, which is excellent news.

"However, there is still room for improvement. The study does indicate that meeting European 2008 packaging waste targets will be challenging.

"We need to continue expanding our recycling infrastructure, and encouraging all households and businesses to play their part."

The latest figures were from PackFlow, a seven-month project led by producer responsibility scheme Valpak with the involvement of materials organisations British Glass, Corus, Alupro and Recoup, along with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The project surveyed local authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to get a comprehensive national picture of packaging recycling rates.

In 2004 households recycled 3.5 billion glass bottles and jars, 1 billion plastic bottles, 2 billion aluminium cans and 2.5 billion steel cans.

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