Almost 40 per cent of plastic bottles were collected for recycling in the UK in 2008, increasing tonnages by 19 per cent on the previous year.
In its annual survey, plastic recycling charity Recoup found that 216,067 tonnes of plastics packaging were collected for recycling out of an estimated 557,000 tonnes entering the household waste stream, equalling a 39 per cent recycling rate.
Plastic bottle and non-bottle plastic collected for recycling totalled 238,000 tonnes.
Recoup chief executive officer John Simmons said: In 2008 approximately 40 per cent of plastic bottles from the household waste stream were collected for recycling. With the high level of infrastructure now in place to collect sort and bale plastic bottles a key challenge for the UK moving forward is to increase household participation and achieve higher recovery rates.
The increase in plastic bottle recycling has been achieved as a result of additional kerbside collection schemes provided by local authorities, accounting for 169,000 tonnes of the bottles collected, which is an increase of 13 per cent on last years figure. On-the-go recycling initiatives have also contributed 3,000 tonnes of bottles this year. Recoup originally expected total plastic recycling rates for 2008 to hit 264,000 tonnes a figure missed by 26,000 tonnes.
Recoup business development director Stuart Foster said: Ultimately the numbers show that over 60 per cent of plastic bottles are still not recycled. There is genuine concern that without a focussed effort, the plastic bottle recycling infrastructure in the UK cannot be sustainably supported by UK bottle collections.