Plastic packaging

Around 40% of plastic is used in packaging and the UK generates around 2.4 million tonnes per year of packaging waste. Of this, around 1.7 million tonnes is from households.

Plastic packaging plays an important role in protecting goods and extending the shelf life of food products but once it has been discarded it remains a valuable resource. Recycling this material to use it again in the manufacture of new plastic items keeps this resource in the economy, out of landfill, and delivers economic and environmental benefits by reducing the use of virgin plastics.

For example, recycling 1 tonne of soft drinks bottles saves around 1.5 tonnes of CO2.

Household Plastic Packaging is made up of the following components:

There are different polymers or types of plastics which have different properties and processing characteristics. When plastics are recycled, plastics sorting plants tend to sort them by polymer as this maximises the value and range of potential uses for this material.
In the UK we currently recycle around 50% of plastic bottles and just 12-15% of mixed plastics, so there is still progress to be made.