Plastics Recycling Statistics

In the UK alone, the plastics industry has an annual turnover in excess of £19b and employs approximately 180,000 people. In 2011 the UK exported £6.7b of plastics and plastics products and accounted for 7% of UK manufacturing activity, greater than the automotive and pharmaceutical industries combined. There are some 7,500 firms engaged in the UK plastics industry.

UK plastics are at the forefront of world class design, technology and manufacturing. The use of plastics touches almost every aspect of our day to day lives from reducing the weight of our cars to help lower emissions to increasing the lifespan of our food to reduce waste.

In the UK...

  • 6,737 million plastic bottles were recycled in 2011 (306,000 tonnes).
  • 52% of household plastic bottles were recycled in 2011.
  • However, only 24% of plastic is recycled or recovered.
  • An estimated 6218 million plastic bottles are disposed of each year.
  • Plastic bottle kerbside recycling schemes currently operate in almost every local authority. Over 21 million households can now participate in kerbside recycling collections.
  • It is estimated that every UK household uses 500 plastic bottles each year.
  • The 306,000 tonnes of bottles recycled in 2011 saved approximately 459,000 tonnes. There are about 6,500 bottles in a typical bale weighing approx. 250kg.
  • The majority of plastic bottles are made from PET or HDPE.
  • 610,000 tonnes of plastics packaging waste were recycled in 2011, around 24% of household plastic bottles.
  • 11% of household waste is plastic, 40% of which are plastic bottles.
  • Reprocessor demand for plastic bottles exceeds supply.
  • 1 tonne = 22,000 plastic bottles.
     
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