The new 52% level, researched as part of the “2012 Recoup Plastic Recycling Survey”, equates to 306,000 t, or 6.7 bn bottles. In addition to bottles, over 120,000 t of rigid plastic packaging, such as pots, tubs and trays, were also collected from households for recycling during the 12-month period, a significant increase on the 2010 level of 76,300 t. This fraction has witnessed significant increases in recent years, but Recoup maintains its position of supporting collections of a wider range of plastics packaging only when suitable sorting infrastructure and end-markets are available and auditable – see Plasteurope.com of 24.09.2012.
Foster said there is still much work to be done if the remaining 48% of plastic bottles are to be accessed and recycled. Recoup is exploring opportunities to improve supply chain collaboration and to influence positive recycling behavioural change. Recycling developments, Foster emphasised, need to be economically viable and sustainable in the longer term. He also expressed doubts that the existing infrastructure can handle increased tonnages without impacting on material quality.
The full 2012 Recoup Plastic Recycling Survey will be published in late November. Meanwhile Recoup says it has secured funding to update its “Recyclability by Design” document aimed at plastic packaging designers, brand owners and retailers to improve their understanding of recycling considerations during pack development and procurement. It should be available in early 2013.