RECOUP finds 584,000 tonnes of household plastic packaging was recycled in 2020


RECOUP’s 2021 UK Household Plastics Collection Survey has estimated that 584,000 tonnes of household plastic packaging was recycled in 2020.

This was an increase of 24,000 tonnes (4%) compared to 2019 despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic.


With an estimated 1,412,000 tonnes of household plastic packaging placed on the market in 2020, RECOUP said a further 990,000 tonnes would need to meet the 2025 70% recycled target.

While the survey found that approximately 75% of PET and 78% of natural HDPE bottles are collected for recycling, these easily outperform the recycling of other plastics.

The collection rate is estimated to be 45% for non-drinks bottles; 36% for plastic pots, tubs and trays; and 4% for plastic film. This is an overall collection rate of 41% for household plastic packaging.

According to RECOUP, these rates will be affected by the proposed policies coming from Government such as Extended Producer Responsibility, Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections, Deposit Return Schemes, the UK Plastic Packaging Tax and a ban or restrictions on Single-Use Plastics.

RECOUP head of policy and infrastructure Steve Morgan said: “There are a multitude of varied high impact policies floating around and they’re going to come together at different times and provide different dynamics.

“Like a whirlpool, they’re going to be thrown together, probably at speed, and how they settle will direct the capability of the UK to manage our waste and recycling systems, possibly for a generation.

“It is crunch time for both decision-makers and industry to ensure that the policies can be implemented on time and effectively, in order to meet the UK’s environmental goals and maintain public support.”

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