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Rigid plastics dent steady local authorities plastics recycling collection rate

From: Packaging World

A new RECOUP report has recorded a collection rate of 59% for plastic bottles and 33% for plastic pots, tubs and trays – but more clearly can be done.

It found that and additional 600,000 tonnes of rigid plastics packaging could be collected for recycling.

The UK Household Collection Survey reports 527,010 tonnes of plastics packaging was collected in 2017, but there is consumer confusion including conflicting national media messages, and language barriers.

Half of local authorities (49%) are planning to communicate specifically about plastics recycling, with 91% targeting reducing contamination in their communications.

Steve Morgan, RECOUP technical manager, said: “Although plastic bottles have seen the biggest increase in collections for three years, with volatile export markets the drive for quality is needed throughout the plastics recycling value chain. The opportunities are there. There are still nearly 600,000 tonnes of rigid plastics packaging that could be collected for recycling, but the consumer is often unaware how they can make a difference by their individual actions, both by what plastics packaging they can recycle in their local area and how to present it for recycling. There is still work to be done to develop reliable markets for some fractions of plastics, and to remove some of the discrepancies within the detail of how pot and tray recycling messages are given to the public.”

RECOUP’s national plastics recycling initiative Pledge2Recycle Plastics has identified some common items of confusion across most local authority areas:

●Pill blister packs
●Cleaning products, trigger and pump sprays
●Bottle tops on or off
●Black and coloured plastics
●Film lids and absorbent layers

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