UK local authorities : Only one-third of all plastic food packaging is recyclable | GBRI

Two third plastic packaging in UK is unrecyclable

According to the Local Government Association in UK, only one-third of plastic food containers bought by households can be recycled in the recycling facilities. The remaining two-third usually ends up in landfills or gets incinerated.

The analysis revealed that out of the 525,000 tonnes of plastic pots, tubs and trays used by UK households annually, just 169,145 tonnes can be recycled.

Councils said they had done all they can to tackle plastic waste, with 99% of local authorities collecting plastic bottles for recycling and 77% picking up pots, tubs and trays.

But packaging for food can be made from a variety of polymers, the molecules which make up plastic, which need to be separated out to remove low-grade and non-recyclable types of plastic such as polystyrene.

Some packaging uses different plastics such as the body and lid of a yogurt pot, while fruit and vegetables punnets are made from three types of polymer, and microwave meals are cased in black plastic which cannot be easily sorted.

The LGA urged manufacturers to work with councils and develop a plan to stop unrecyclable plastic being used and asked the government to put a ban on low-grade plastics.

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