Plan for plastics

THE CIRCULAR SOLUTION | PLASTIC RECYCLING REPORT 2018

Plastic was introduced as a material marvel, designed to preserve and protect products over long journeys - ensuring food in particular remains fresh, safe and long-lasting while saving water and energy in the process.

These benefits are significant. Unfortunately, pathways have opened up resulting in plastic waste ending up in the natural world.

Our objective is to recover materials before they’re lost and damage the environment; recycling resources, creating new from used.

The UK has successfully moved from a 5% to 45% recycling rate over a 20 year period, now we need to consider what our next steps should be, how we as a country can improve recycling. This isn’t about banning an eco-material but evolving how we design, collect and process it to optimise its environmental and economic potential.

Download our report, plan for plastics, to discover our suggested three-step approach to boost plastic recycling.

We developed this paper with leading plastic authority, RECOUP. 

RECOUP logo

UK recycling tonnage

PLASTIC BOTTLES
594,000
tonnes

POTS, TUBS & TRAYS
525,000
tonnes

FILM (inc. plastic bags)
414,000
tonnes

59%
currently collected for recycling
---
Very recyclable

33%
currently collected for recycling
---
Mixed recycling

<5%
currently collected for recycling

---
Very hard to recycle

KEY FINDINGS FROM RESEARCH

Clearer labelling on products as well as schemes to encourage recycling on the move will remove confusion and inconvenience.
Sustainable and consistent design will ensure products can be recycled more easily.
Using recycled content in new products will increase the demand for recycling as well as expand the market for the final material helping to drive costs down in the process.