Record number of plastic bottles being recycled in Britain

A record number of plastic bottles are being recycled in Britain after the biggest increase in three years, according to new figures.

Statistics released by RECOUP, a plastic recycling charity, show 351,907 tonnes were collected from households for processing in 2017 – up 2.5% on the previous 12 months.

Sky Ocean Rescue has set the agenda on plastic reduction and recycling since January 2017, calling specifically for a deposit scheme on plastic bottles to stop so many being littered, landfilled or incinerated.

The need for a deposit scheme is underlined by further statistics in the RECOUP report.

Of 13 billion plastic bottles used each year in the UK, only 7.7 billion (59%) are collected for recycling.

In Norway, where bottles are sold with a small deposit that’s returned to consumers when they bring back their empties, more than 96% of bottles are recycled.

According to the report, the bottles thrown away in general rubbish bins in the UK cost £22m to dispose of.

Sky Ocean Rescue has been raising awareness of the plastic plight of the world's open water
Sky Ocean Rescue has been raising awareness of the plastic plight of the world’s oceans

The plastic would have been worth £27m if it had been recycled.

The report shows a total of 2,260,000 tonnes of plastic packaging was used in 2017, with just 46%, or 1,044,363 tonnes, recycled.

Steve Morgan, RECOUP technical manager, said: “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.”

A significant issue is the lack of recycling in public areas.

Just 49% of local authorities providing recycling bins on streets and in open spaces.

It will also outline taxes in the Budget to incentivise manufacturers to use recycled plastics or alternative materials in their packaging.

Here at Newlife Rugs we use approximately 2000 recycled plastic bottles per one of our rugs.

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