UK: Don’t lose your bottle on plastics recycling

In 2011, the UK’s plastic bottle collection rate went above 50% for the first time, with over 300,000 tonnes being collected – but improvement is needed!

The above figure was just for bottles; overall plastic packaging waste collections from households totalled over 425,000 tonnes.

But this will need to double in order for the UK to meet its 2017 packaging recycling target of 57%, according to Recoup, a plastics recycling body that has conducted an annual UK Households Plastic Packaging Survey for 18 years.

A total of 1.2 million tonnes will need to be collected from domestic, household and commercial waste.

Recoup’s Technical Manager, Steve Morgan, said:

“The data clearly shows plastics collection levels have come a long way since the first survey recorded the collection of 425 tonnes of plastic bottles.

“However, it is clear significant changes will be necessary if the UK is serious about achieving the new and ambitious five-year recycling targets for plastics packaging from 2013 to 2017.”

It is certainly an ambitious target, but Recycling Lives is confident that the UK can achieve it! Awareness of the importance of recycling has increased, and local authority collections of plastics as part of household recycling have been implemented.

A vast range of plastics can be recycled, and Recycling Lives accepts household waste at its Recycling Lives Centre, which is a designated collection facility.

As a social business, we are concerned with minimising negative impact on the environment as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility agenda, and we have found a great way to do this with waste plastics.

We developed an innovative manufacturing process that converts any plastic polymer into material for strong beams, which can be used in the construction industry. These beams provide a sustainable alternative to the wooden variety.

This process is just one of the many examples of Recycling Lives’ work to ensure that we add social value to the community. Our commercial activities help to boost the local economy by creating jobs.

We also provide work placements and training opportunities to Residents of our social welfare charity. The charity supports homeless people to find work and accommodation so that they can forge a pathway to independence. They follow a six-stage support plan to help them achieve their aims.

So recycling plastics benefits more than just the environment, and the charitable aspect of Recycling Lives’ operations should provide people with more than enough incentive to recycle their waste plastics!