Report finds UK overestimates plastic recycling by a third

29 March 2018

Official statistics say that in 2015 UK households and businesses produced 2.26m tonnes of plastic packaging waste. Almost 39% was claimed to have been recycled, well above the current EU target of 22.5%. However, by analysing what is known about the composition of waste in the UK, a new report finds that the real amount of plastic packaging waste produced is much higher – around 3.5m tonnes.
If the amount reported as recycled is correct, it seems the real recycling rate may be 9-10 percentage points lower than the government claims. The UK may well have failed to meet its recycling targets under the EU Directive in the years 2008-2012 (News Item Eunomia, 6 March 2018).
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