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Plastic bottle recycling goes past 50%

The recycling of plastic bottles in the UK has reached 52%, according to data released by Recoup.

Stuart Foster, Recoup chief executive


The figure was announced at the group’s annual meeting by chief executive Stuart Foster, left, who said more detailed data would be released in the annual Recoup recycling survey in November.

The overall figure relates to some 306,000 tonnes, or 6.7 billion bottles and Foster admitted that he had hoped to announce the milestone of over half of all bottles recycled earlier but the growth in bottle recycling had slowed in recent years.

He said there were questions over how the remaining 48% of bottles could be retrieved but Recoup was looking at opportunities to improve collaboration in the supply chain as well as influencing further behaviour change in consumers.

Foster noted the growth in household collection of rigid plastic packaging such as pots, tubs and trays - according to the data, more than 120,000 tonnes were collected for recycling last year.

Mr Foster said Recoup supported the collection of wider ranges of such plastics but only when suitable sorting infrastructure and end markets are available and auditable. But he questioned whether that was the case at present.

  • Recoup has secured funding to update its ‘Recyclability By Design’ document aimed at plastic packaging designers, brand owners and retailers to improve understanding of recycling considerations during the pack development and procurement process. This will be available in early 2013.

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