Archive for December, 2022


Posted: 20/12/2022


Plastic resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, is delighted to share the 2022 highlights and accomplishments it has delivered over the past year, thanks to member contributions, grant funding and collaborations, with the guidance of the RECOUP Board of Trustees and Advisors.

As a not-for-profit and charitable organisation, RECOUP ensures all financial support received is used in the most effective ways possible to deliver core, project and research activities to meet its aims and objectives.

Detailed below are just some of the activities and highlights for RECOUP in 2022:

RECOUP reports, updated, researched and launched in 2022 include:

  • The UK Plastic Packaging Sorting & Reprocessing Infrastructure Report, exploring household and commercial capacities for plastics recycling
  • UK Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey, which provides a comprehensive review of the collection of household plastic packaging for recycling in the UK
  • Recyclability by Design, the essential guide for all those involved in the development and design of plastic packaging
  • Recyclability Case Studies, on Bacon & Meat Packaging, Recyclability by Design; Back to Basics and Material Substitution
  • Citizen Plastics Recycling Behaviours Insights Study, analysing consumer recycling behaviours
  • Best Practice Guide to UK Plastic Recycling Communications, output of the SSPP funded Kent Understand Plastics ‘Live Lab’ project sharing knowledge on how to communicate plastics recycling to individuals and communities
  • ESA Quality Standard for Recycled Plastics with support from RECOUP, the BPF and the Recycling Association, to define a set of quality standards for post-consumer recycling
  • Recycled Content Verification Systems reportupdated guidance and developments in recycled content verification schemes and technologies in collaboration with the BPF

2022 collaborative on-going projects include:

  • Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) FlexCollect project, piloting household collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging
  • Compostable Coalition, multi-stakeholder SSPP funded initiative to ensure compostable packaging is effectively collected and recycled
  • The SSPP funded TRACE (Technology-enabled Reusable Assets for Circular Economy) project, researching reusable packaging design incorporating RFID technology
  • Collaboration with PECT on a Hubbub and Starbucks funded ‘Bring it Back’ project looking at local community barriers to the uptake of reuse systems
  • Plastic Packaging Portal, supported by Innovate, to create a new open standard for plastic packaging data
  • Completion of the SSPP funded Kent Understanding Plastics ‘Live Lab’ project looking at how communications delivery can influence recycling rates

Alongside the launch of reports and projects, throughout 2022 RECOUP continued to monitor, respond and advise members on policy and legislation including Extended Producer Responsibility, Deposit Return Schemes, consistent recycling collections, the plastic packaging tax, single use plastics and international legislation. Member support for recyclability advice and testing was boosted by the set up of internal laboratory resources. Other topics under development over the year with a number of outputs to be shared in 2023 include life cycle assessment, bioplastics and reuse.

Value chain education, engagement and networking continued in 2022 including attendance at a number of public events under the Pledge2Recycle Plastics brand to promote plastics recycling, delivering school assemblies, exhibiting and speaking at RWM & Letsrecycle Live, organising an outstanding annual RECOUP conference combined with the launch of the inaugural RECOUP awards to celebrate excellence in plastics, recycling and resource efficiency, culminating the year with a successful series of webinars with fantastic attendance and feedback.

Stuart Foster, CEO, of RECOUP comments, “I would like to thank all our members and the wider plastics value chain for their continued support in 2022. The plastic and packaging industries are facing more challenges and questions around sustainability and resources than ever before. With strong support from cross-sector members RECOUP can address and overcome these challenges through increased supply and recycling chain collaboration, impartial debate and delivery of practical and effective plastics recycling initiatives”.

Stuart continued “I am delighted to report that our membership in 2022 continued to grow. Wherever you are on your journey we are here to work with you in 2023 to maximise efficient plastics recycling and look forward to more progress and achievements in the year ahead”.

STARK CHALLENGES AHEAD – 750,000t household plastic packaging goes uncaptured

Posted: 08/12/2022

STARK CHALLENGES AHEAD – 750,000t household plastic packaging goes uncaptured

Plastic resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP estimates that a staggering 750,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastic packaging is not currently collected for recycling, in its new UK Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey report.  This allows a huge opportunity for upcoming legislative changes, to help bridge the gap between the UK’s current capture rate and what plastic packaging is placed on the market each year.


The newly launched report has found that over 600,000 tonnes of household plastic packaging was collected for recycling in 2021, an increase of 4% on the previous year. This is an overall collection rate of 43% for all household plastic packaging in the UK that is captured at kerbside.

With recycling targets set to increase year-on-year, up to 62% in 2030 proposed in upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, greater volumes of currently uncollected material will need to be captured. The report found that in 2021 over 200,000 tonnes of plastic bottles, 250,000 tonnes of plastic pots, tubs and trays, and over 300,000 tonnes of plastic films and flexibles were not collected, offering huge potential for increasing capture rates with the correct legislative drivers.

The report also found that local authorities experience material reject rates of up to 35%, with an average of 13%, highlighting the need for clear and consistent communications to citizens to help reduce contamination and improve material quality.

Tom McBeth, Policy & Infrastructure Projects Manager comments: “It’s reassuring to see that, despite the significant challenges seen over the last few years, collection volumes continue to increase, albeit gradually.”

Tom continues: “What is now important, is it is not allowed to stagnate. With the current flurry of information and activity from Defra, particularly relating to the introduction of EPR, and the funding mechanisms and mandated collection of plastic films for recycling at the kerbside, hopefully, local authorities and waste management providers will have the confidence and assurance to adapt and invest in their collection schemes, to see the capture of more of these currently lost resources.”

As the UK looks to navigate its way through the many changing environmental policies, RECOUP continues to provide expertise and guidance for its members across the plastics recycling value chain and policymakers.

The RECOUP UK Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey 2022 is available in full for RECOUP members.

For none members, a webinar and data summary provide an overview of the findings