UK one of worst plastics recyclers in Europe


A new report has shown that the UK is close to the bottom of a list of European nations when it comes to plastics recycling and energy recovery.

Out of European countries, only Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and Malta performed worse in 2011.


The UK has a recycling rate of approximately 20 per cent of plastics with another approximately 7 per cent going to energy recovery.

This compares badly to Switzerland which recycles or recovers energy from almost 100 per cent of its plastic waste.

However, Norway is Europe’s best recycler of plastics at around 36 per cent.

The report, Plastics – the Facts 2012, is published by Plastics Europe representing trade bodies European Plastics Converters, European Plastics Recyclers and the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations.

With the European plastics industry having set itself a goal of zero plastics going to landfill by 2020, it looks as though this target will be missed. At the current rate of progress, it will be 2037 before this target is met.

However, the good news is that 4.8 per cent more plastic was recovered across Europe in 2011 compared to 2010 with an overall recovery rate of 59.1 per cent.

Estonia and Finland showed the best improvement over the period from 2006 to 2011 with the former improving by 45 per cent and the latter by 30 per cent.

The nine best countries in Europe all recovered more than 90 per cent of their plastic waste.