Encouragement over UK plastic packaging waste recycling stats

THE UK is on track this year to record its highest-ever volume of plastic packaging waste recycling.

National Packaging Waste Database figures show the UK achieved the highest volume of plastic packaging recycling on record in the second quarter of 2022. This follows last year’s news that, for the first time, the UK market was outstripping exports.

James Armitage, commercial operations analyst at Reconomy Group company Valpak, said, “These latest figures show that things are moving in the right direction. Higher volumes of material managed in the UK result in a more robust data trail and confidence that material is being processed responsibly. At the same time, PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) funding provides substantial investment in UK infrastructure.

“However, there is still room for improvement across the industry. Valpak has always favoured UK reprocessing – in 2021, 70% of our plastics PRNs were sourced from UK businesses, compared with a UK figure of 53%. Since 2017, we have invested over £200 million into UK recycling infrastructure through our PRN purchasing, and over £120 million for plastic specifically. As the market adapts to greater demand for UK-sourced material, we look forward to seeing others follow our lead.”

The figures for 2022 currently suggest that potentially over 600,000 tonnes of plastic could be reprocessed if current volumes are maintained. The total for 2021 was 593,000 tonnes.