Survey finds 2% increase in plastics collected from UK households

22nd March 2021 | Recycling

Plastics recycling charity, RECOUP, has released the full version of the 2020 RECOUP UK Household Plastic Packaging Survey report, ahead of UK legislation overhaul. The Survey highlights that the UK saw a 2% increase in collected household plastics, up to 560kt in 2019.

Whilst some would view these slight increases as a demonstration of a positive trend in collection of plastic materials, actual recycling rates remain stagnant. RECOUP says this is in part due to the ‘failure in capturing and recycling the significant quantities of plastic film and flexibles from households’.

In 2021, the UK is set to see several consultations that will affect the plastics supply chain, including:

  • Consistent Collections from 2023 (England only)
  • Deposit Return Scheme from 2022 (Scotland only) and 2023 (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
  • Extended Producer Responsibility in 2023 (UK)
  • Plastic Packaging Tax in 2023 (UK)

Although we are yet to see if the proposed dates remain or indeed are themselves a point of consultation.


For the first time, all 382 UK Local Authorities collect plastic bottles for recycling at the kerbside. Additionally, the number which collect plastic pots, tubs and trays has increased to 85%.

However, the number collecting films and flexibles has dropped to 14%. At the same time, discussions centred around whether plastic films and flexibles should be included in the material set for Consistent Collections in England, have drawn greater focus on how to best capture and recycle this material.

The Survey reports that there are ‘widespread inconsistencies’ in relation to presenting materials, including the basic messages as to whether to remove or keep lids on plastic bottles.

More information available on the website below

Survey finds 2% increase in plastics collected from UK household