Author Archive

County Durham Recycles Plastics Success

Posted: 13/09/2023

County Durham Recycles Plastics Success

RECOUP’s Pledge2Recycle Plastics has joined forces with Durham County Council to launch a County wide plastics recycling communications and education project. This initiative aims to encourage more County Durham residents to embrace recycling and elevate the quality of plastics packaging recycled in the region through household collections.

Videos have been developed to demonstrate the journey of plastics packaging and its recycling processes within the region.  By educating residents on the recycling process, the initiative seeks to enhance awareness about the significance of recycling instructions and the positive impact individuals can have on the environment through sustained recycling behaviours.

The team have been attending a variety of events throughout the summer including engagements with local leaders, schools, as well as high profile community events.   Anne Hitch, Business and Project Development Lead commented “Research has cited that citizens lack of knowledge and understanding of the recycling process can form a barrier to positive recycling behaviours.   This project aims to provide information on what plastics are recycled and how on a regional level.  Citizen confusion is alleviated through communications with a focus on the recycling questions most frequently asked.”

A new website aligns with Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle waste hierarchy model, emphasising the importance of reducing waste generation, reusing materials where possible, and recycling plastics to promote a circular economy. Through their efforts, County Durham residents will be empowered to make informed choices that contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Recoup and Pledge2Recycle Plastic’s education project. Each year, the average household uses over 1,000 items – from plastics to cans – but less than half of this is recycled. It’s important we recycle as much as we can because, for every item recycled, we reduce the need to use raw materials, helping save energy and resources.

“We do a lot of work within the county to make our residents aware of what can be recycled through our ‘What Goes Where’ campaign. RECOUP’s project supports this work in helping to build people’s confidence so that recycling rates increase, and more materials are reused rather than thrown away.”

Biffa, the UK’s leading sustainable waste management company, supported this initiative by providing access to their recycling and recovery facilities and video content that demonstrate what happens to recycling after it is put out for collection by residents.

Hannah Clifford, Strategic Development Manager, Biffa Polymers commented “At Biffa we know that recycling can be confusing, and we are great supporters of innovative projects like this to promote understanding and increase plastic recycling. By sorting their waste into the correct recycling bins, residents can play a vital role in ensuring valuable materials are captured and processed for recycling.”

The project is supported by Durham County Council, The British Plastics Federation, Biffa, and Marmax Recycled Products.

RECOUP Announces Awards Shortlist

Posted: 07/09/2023

RECOUP Announces Awards Shortlist

RECOUP’s Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference Returns to KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough on Thursday 28 September 2023.

The Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference, a highly anticipated event in the industry, is gearing up for its return to the prestigious KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough. With a focus on fostering knowledge exchange and networking, this event is a must-attend for stakeholders across the sector.

Drawing a substantial audience of approximately 500 delegates annually, the conference serves as a dynamic platform that unites a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, ranging from NGOs to local and national governmental bodies. The gathering includes participation from organisations spanning the plastics and broader sustainability value chain, culminating in a productive environment for networking and sharing best practices.

A pivotal highlight of this year’s conference is the debut of the Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner. Scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, 27 September, at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough, this exclusive event welcomes all delegates. It promises a unique opportunity for attendees to establish connections, applaud industry accomplishments, and pave the way for collaborative efforts leading into the main conference.


**Announcing the shortlist for the RECOUP awards:**

Best Development or Innovation to Enhance Plastic Products for Recyclability or Re-Use

Apetito & Wiltshire Farm Foods Ltd  –  Boomerang!

Kraft Heinz  –  Mono material dispensing closure (Project Balaton)

Magnomer, Inc  –  Magmark SS Ink


Zotefoams Plc  –  ReZorce® Circular Packaging



Recycled Plastic Product of the Year

Nestlé  –  KitKat packaging

Schoeller Allibert Services  –  Magnum Optimum® 1210 CircuLine


Wastesmiths CIC  –  Bee Saviour Card



Best Innovation in Equipment or Technology to Improve the Collection, Sorting, Reprocessing or Re-use of Plastics

Fiberight Limited  –  HYDRACYCLE

Greyparrot  –  Greyparrot AI Waste Recognition System

Polytag  –  Unique-every-time QR codes

SortFlow Limited  –  SortFlow AI Mapper



To book your place at the Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner, please visit  – RECOUP Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner 2023 – RECOUP Recycling


To book your place at the Conference, please visit – RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference 2023 – RECOUP Recycling

Revolutionising Data Collection on Litter: RECOUPs Litter Composition and Pathways Project

Posted: 08/08/2023

Revolutionising Data Collection on Litter: RECOUPs Litter Composition and Pathways Project

Littering is a widespread issue that affects our environment daily. Shockingly, Keep Britain Tidy estimates that more than two million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK each day, leaving our streets and natural spaces untidy and uncared for. In response to the growing concern over litter pollution, the UK government, industry leaders, and stakeholders are calling for better data and evidence to inform policy decisions and drive effective solutions. This is where RECOUP, a charity and leading authority in the resources and waste sector, steps in with an exciting new initiative: The Litter Composition & Pathways Project (LCPP).

The Need for Improved Data on Litter

The demand for better data on litter has become crucial for making informed decisions and developing effective environmental policies. Proposed reforms aimed at reducing litter rely heavily on accurate and robust data sets. A comprehensive understanding of litter composition is essential to assess the impact of these reforms and determine the most effective strategies for curbing litter pollution. However, current litter projects often face limitations in data collection methods, leading to a lack of consistency and reliability. Many studies rely on citizen science, which, while valuable, may not always provide the most reliable data.

Introducing RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project

In response to the urgent need for better litter data, RECOUP has launched the Litter Composition & Pathways Project (LCPP). The project’s primary goal is to review, challenge, and provide robust evidence regarding the composition of litter. To achieve this, RECOUP aims to develop a standardised, evidence-based methodology for collecting and analysing litter, creating a comprehensive data set. Peer reviewing of the methodology will ensure the reliability and validity of the collected data.

AI Technology in Litter Analysis

Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology have seen investigations into its’ use to analyse the composition of litter and binned materials. As part of this project, RECOUP will be exploring the possibilities around AI technology and its’ potential to be a highly efficient, highly effective option for generating scalable data on litter in the future.

Progress and Next Steps

Although the LCPP is still in its’ early stages, RECOUP has already made significant strides. A draft methodology for litter collection and sorting has been developed and is ready for testing and peer reviewing. The initial phase of analysing litter through AI technology has also taken place. To further enhance the project’s capabilities, RECOUP is in the process of establishing a dedicated “Litter Lab” at their offices, where advanced litter analysis will be conducted.

RECOUP plans to collaborate with local litter-picking groups to collect litter for analysis. Once the methodology is finalised and the data is collected, it will be shared with the UK government, devolved administrations, and key stakeholders to inform and advise policy decisions. The evidence-based insights gained from this project will aid in the development of targeted interventions to combat litter pollution effectively.

A Vision for the Future

With RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project underway, the future looks promising for a more data-driven and effective approach to tackle litter pollution. By establishing a standardised methodology RECOUP is paving the way for informed policy decisions and comprehensive litter management strategies. The organisation’s dedication to protecting the environment and advancing the circular economy continues to make them a trailblazer in the resources and waste sector.

As the LCPP progresses, we can expect even greater insights into the composition of litter, opening the door for a cleaner and more sustainable future. Together, through collaborative efforts and evidence-based actions, we can truly make a difference and become responsible stewards of our planet. Stay tuned for updates on RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project as they embark on this inspiring journey towards a litter-free world.

Participate in Litter Collection: RECOUP will be collaborating with local litter-picking groups to collect litter for analysis. If you would like to contribute to the development of a cleaner and greener future, please email us at

Stay Updated: Follow RECOUP’s website and social media channels for regular updates on the LCPP’s progress and findings.

Polytag and Biffa partner to help Ocado Retail, Co-op and Aldi gain unprecedented packaging lifecycle data

Posted: 29/06/2023

Polytag and Biffa partner to help Ocado Retail, Co-op and Aldi gain unprecedented packaging lifecycle data

As part of RECOUP’s ‘Bottle to Bottle’ project, Polytag, the recycling technology company, and Biffa, the sustainable waste management company, will enable three of the UK’s largest retailers, the UK’s largest dairy cooperative, Arla Foods, and Müller Milk & Ingredients to better understand when and where their packaging is being recycled. This will also arm Biffa with invaluable real-time data to revolutionise its recycling operations.


14 JUNE: Recycling tech pioneer, Polytag, and sustainable waste management company Biffa, have announced their collaboration with UK retailers Ocado Retail, Co-op, and Aldi to provide them with never-before-seen packaging lifecycle data. The businesses have joined forces as part of plastics, resource, efficiency and recycling charity RECOUP’s 26-week long ‘Bottle to Bottle’ project, in conjunction with label printer Interket UK, the UK’s largest dairy co-operative Arla Foods and Müller Milk & Ingredients.

The project will see Co-op’s water bottles and Aldi and Ocado’s milk marked with UV 2D tags, printed by Interket UK, with a Polytag UV tag reader retrofitted onto the plastic conveyor at Biffa’s Teesside MRF in the northeast of England.

Through monitoring analytics via the Polytag dashboard, the retailers will be able to access real-time data insights, such as where, when and how much packaging has been recycled to help optimise sustainability strategies.

Moreover, Polytag will enable Biffa to start to capture real-time data on packaging composition directly through their processing operations, informing recycling strategy, investment in sorting, recovery equipment, and the onward tracking of materials.

Alice Rackley, CEO of Polytag, commented: “Polytag is a practical solution delivering actionable insights to solve recycling challenges. We’re pleased to be working with RECOUP to form part of its innovative project to address recycling rates in northeast England. Growing numbers of stakeholders are becoming aware of the necessity of data to incite meaningful change when it comes to recycling, and we know the power this never-before-seen data can have for brands and retailers committed to delivering their sustainability goals”.

Anne Hitch, Business and Project Development Lead, for RECOUP, added: “RECOUP have long called for transparent, robust, and granular data on packaging recycling to give a complete picture of behaviours and help inform policy and infrastructure developments.”

Carla Brian, Senior Commercial Development Manager for Biffa also added: “Biffa is a pioneer in closed-loop plastic recycling, and we’re committed to exploring new technologies to further optimise resource recovery. We are delighted to be working with RECOUP and Polytag to gather new insights and data about plastic packaging, which will inform strategic decision-making and shape response to recycling policy in the UK.”

David Acott, Operations Director (UK) for Interket UK, continued: “Following the success of the initial project with Polytag and Ocado Retail, in which our Ecoket range of materials was used to print over 5 million labels onto the retailers’ packaging, we are proud to be involved again on a project with similarly exciting implications for the circular economy. By working with Polytag’s retrofitted technology, our labels open up hugely promising opportunities for brands and retailers. We are looking forward to seeing their impact.”


To learn more about Polytag’s UV tag reading technology, read the latest report on their website here:


To learn more about Biffa’s plastic recycling visit,

RECOUP launches new Refill Packaging Case Studies on World Refill Day

Posted: 15/06/2023

RECOUP launches new Refill Packaging Case Studies on World Refill Day

To celebrate and support World Refill Day on 16 June, plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, has launched a new case study looking at the growing trend of refill products and their associated packaging.

While bulk refill purchases have been utilised for commercial needs and cost efficiency measures for many years, growing concern about the environmental impact of packaging makes refills an attractive option for everyday household shopping. Refillable packaging allows consumers to continue to use the original product packaging by offering a refill solution, often distributed in an alternative packaging format with the aim to reduce environmental impact of both products and packaging. More and more brands and retailers are offering refill solutions to meet customer demand and achieve companies’ sustainability targets.

The RECOUP Refill Packaging Case Studies found that refills are widely offered in the household and personal care markets, especially for products such as soap, shampoo, and cleaning liquids, however refill solutions for food and drink products are currently scarcer on the UK market. It also details that numerous formats for the refill containers, such as pouches, bottles, tubes, sachets, jerry cans, and cartons, are available with all formats having their own benefits and potential disadvantages.

Materials used in packaging designed for reuse (both in terms of the refill packaging and the refillable packaging) and their suitability for reuse applications as well as recyclability are also investigated. The new study also considers the environmental message communicated to the consumer and whether this is clear and transparent around green claims and the refill and reuse system.

Richard Cham, Senior Packaging & Recyclability Projects Officer comments ‘‘Reuse is a step forward in reducing plastic waste, but it is important to remember that everything has a life expectancy and reusable packaging is no different.  At some stage, these packs will need to be disposed of and ensuring they are designed with end-of-life in mind is paramount.’

RECOUP concludes that while not always a circular solution, refills and refillable packaging play a vital role in normalising refill and increasing consumers involvement in reuse schemes.

The Refill Packaging Case Study is available to RECOUP members to download from its website here.

RECOUP Recyclability by Design, the essential guide for all those involved in the development and design of plastic packaging is available to all to download from the RECOUP website.

RECOUP Reusability by Design, the reusable plastic packaging design guidance for the value chain is also readily available to everyone to download from the RECOUP Website

Both RECOUP documents assist stakeholders with the design of recyclable and reusable plastic packaging that meets the needs of the value chain from packaging manufacturers, packer/fillers, brands, retailers, consumers, service providers through to waste management companies.

RECOUP Awards entry deadline only 4 weeks away!

Posted: 14/06/2023

RECOUP Awards entry deadline only 4 weeks away!

RECOUP Plastics Recycling Annual Awards 2023: Celebrating Excellence in Plastics Recycling and Resource Efficiency

With only 4 weeks left to enter the prestigious RECOUP Plastics Recycling Annual Awards 2023, plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity RECOUP is urging all organisations and individuals involved in the plastics recycling industry to submit their entries before the deadline on 14 July 2023. The awards are FREE to enter and celebrate excellence in plastics resource efficiency and recycling, and champion those leading a more circular plastics value chain.

There are 3 award categories and no limit on the number of entries:

  1. Best Development or Innovation to Enhance Plastic Products for Recyclability or Re-Use.
  2. Recycled Plastic Product of the Year.
  3. Best Innovation in Equipment or Technology to Improve the Collection, Sorting, Reprocessing or Re-use of Plastics.

The awards will be presented at the RECOUP Awards & Pre-conference Networking Dinner on Wednesday 27 September 2023, at the Holiday Inn, Peterborough West and will recognise and celebrate the innovative and inspiring projects and initiatives that have helped to drive the plastics recycling industry forward and lead to a more sustainable future.

Rebecca Davis, Membership & Events Manager at RECOUP comments:  “We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for organisations and individuals to showcase their achievements and be recognised for their contributions to the plastics recycling industry.  We have managed to secure an esteemed judging panel that will be announced on social media and are excited to receive entries for our new award categories before 14 July”.

To apply for the awards, please visit the RECOUP website and complete the online entry form.

The awards are followed by RECOUP’s not-to-be-missed event of the year, the Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference, which is held at Kingsgate Conference Centre, Peterborough on Thursday 28 September and attracts delegates from the entire plastics and wider sustainability value chain. Tickets can be booked via the RECOUP website.

Limited awards and conference sponsorship opportunities are also still available, please email for more information or if you require any assistance with the award entry.

Somerset and Newcastle Join the UK’s Largest Flexible Plastic Household Collection and Recycling Pilot

Posted: 12/06/2023

Somerset and Newcastle Join the UK’s Largest Flexible Plastic Household Collection and Recycling Pilot

Somerset Council and Newcastle City Council are the latest local authorities to join the FPF FlexCollect flexible plastic collection pilot this Spring.

As part of the pilot, over 3,600 homes in Somerset and 5,000 homes in Newcastle will have the opportunity to recycle flexible plastics such as plastic bags, wrappers, packets, and films as part of normal kerbside recycling collections. The collections will expand to more residents in both locations over the next two years.

Newcastle and Somerset join South Gloucestershire, Cheltenham and Maldon Councils, with both local authorities offering advantages and learnings to the FPF FlexCollect project with their contrasting demographics and collection systems. An additional four local authorities are set to join FPF FlexCollect in 2023, further increasing the scope of the project and the amount of flexible packaging sent for recycling.

Newcastle launched on 5th June and provides residents with a fortnightly twin stream collection with glass collected separately, while Somerset, which launched on the 22nd May, offers a weekly source segregated collection. Residents in both locations will be provided with a new blue collection bag to collect their flexible plastics, before placing in their existing recycling container to be pulled out at the material recycling facility.

With only 8% of flexible plastics currently collected from home, the pilot is providing insights to inform industry and local authorities ahead of the introduction of compulsory UK-wide kerbside collections planned for 2027.

To tackle this issue, key players in the industry, including manufacturers and brands, stepped up to the challenge and set up the Flexible Plastic Fund. The Fund was launched in 2021 and is collaboratively funded and supported by the following UK organisations: Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, Kiddylicious, Koninklijke Douwe Egberts, KP Snacks, Lotus Bakeries, Mars UK, McCain Foods, Mondelēz International, Natural Balance Foods, Nestlé, Ocado Retail, PepsiCo, The Collective, Unilever, United Biscuits and Vitaflo.

The £3m FPF FlexCollect project was launched in May 2022 and is co-managed by a consortium comprising the project co-funders, Ecosurety, RECOUP, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and WRAP. The project has been the principal focus for the FPF which is the majority funder, with the remaining funding coming from Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge and Zero Waste Scotland.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We all need to do our bit to reduce waste, and I’m delighted to see local authorities from almost the furthest corners of England taking part in this exciting scheme. These pilots and the work of Somerset and Newcastle councils will improve our understanding of how to drive up recycling rates for some of the most difficult plastics, potentially helping all of us recycle more.”

Gareth Morton, spokesperson for FPF FlexCollect and Discovery Manager at Ecosurety said: “We are pleased to see the FPF FlexCollect project building steadily, with now five local authorities on board to help us gain valuable insights into how to successfully collect and recycle post-consumer flexible plastics from households. We are looking forward to share openly our initial learnings at the end of this year so the UK can prepare for widespread collections by 2027.”

Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change at Somerset Council, said: “We’ve expanded kerbside collections and our recycling rate has never been higher – we’ve a lot to be proud of in Somerset and joining this trial was the natural next step. We’re committed to making our county more sustainable and excited to be playing our part in shaping the future of recycling across the UK.”

Cllr Jane Byrne, Newcastle City Council Cabinet member for a Connected, Clean City, said, “Improving the quality of recycling and reducing waste are among our key priorities so I am delighted more than 5,000 homes in Newcastle will be taking part in this exciting trial. The pilot supports the fantastic work we are doing to improve recycling rates in the city, from engaging with communities to highlight the importance of recycling to reducing contamination through the use of indoor recycling smart bags.”

Thomas Merry, Commercialisation and Innovation Manager for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and FPF Project Director, said “The addition of Somerset and Newcastle to the FPF FlexCollect project complements the current pilots well, with the urban inner-city area of Newcastle and Somerset’s rural population providing an interesting contrast with the pilot areas already up and running. This will build on our learnings so far, providing valuable insight into participation rates and volumes from different communities.”

Steve Morgan, Head of Policy & Infrastructure at RECOUP added: “We’re delighted to see two more Local Authorities on board. The diversity of the urban inner-city area of Newcastle and rural population in Somerset will provide invaluable insight to collect and recycle post-consumer flexible plastics. RECOUP continue to lead on two key areas of the project – both on understanding of the composition of the collected material and recycling end markets. We are learning a lot and FlexCollect continues to be a fascinating project for us.”

About FPF FlexCollect

FPF FlexCollect is a £3m pilot to collect and recycle flexible plastic packaging from households in the UK. Initiated and led by the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF), and including some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, the project benefits from the cross-industry expertise of leading industry and government partners, including Defra, Ecosurety, UK Research and Innovation Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, RECOUP, LARAC, WRAP and Zero Waste Scotland.

The other local authorities that are already part of the project include Cheltenham Borough Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Maldon District Council.

About The Flexible Plastic Fund

The Flexible Plastic Fund is a collaborative fund giving value to flexible plastic films, so they are properly recycled. Managed by market-leading producer responsibility compliance scheme Ecosurety, the Fund was established in May 2021 by five founding partners: Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever. Partners of the Fund now include Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, Kiddylicious, Koninklijke Douwe Egberts, KP Snacks, Lotus Bakeries, McCain Foods, Natural Balance Foods, Ocado Retail, The Collective, United Biscuits and Vitaflo.

In collaboration with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers, the Fund intends to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by giving the material a stable value. This will in turn increase the supply of recycled plastic for the industry to become more ‘circular’. This will motivate investment in much-needed jobs and infrastructure to make flexible plastic recycling a financially sustainable system in the UK. Through supporting the Flexible Plastic Fund, partners will contribute to system-wide progress driving towards household collection of this valuable material and ultimately closing the loop on flexible plastic production. Find out more:

RECOUP return to RWM 13-14 Sept 2023

Posted: 31/05/2023

RECOUP return to RWM 13-14 Sept 2023

The leading event for waste, recycling, and resource professionals.

RECOUP will once again be attending the Resource & Waste Management Expo (RWM), the premier event for professionals working in the recycling, resource, waste, and broader environmental services industry. Formerly known as RWM & Letsrecycle Live, RWM offers an unparalleled platform to connect with like-minded professionals, learn about the latest industry trends, and drive positive environmental change through sustainable resource management.

The event will take centre stage at the NEC on 13-14 September as part of the wider Environmental Services & Solutions Expo (ESS) – forming one of Europe’s premier events dedicated to the environment and environmental services.

In recent years, a series of environmental B2B events have united under one roof at the NEC, giving rise to the ESS Expo. ESS now forms the ‘umbrella’ event for the following renowned exhibitions:

•          RWM (Resource & Waste Management Expo)

•          EFD (Energy, Fuels & Decarbonisation Expo)

•          FWM (Flood & Water Management Expo)

•          CLR (Contamination & Land Remediation Expo)

RWM invites participants to engage in critical discussions, explore ground-breaking green technologies, and to utilise the event as an international springboard for innovative waste and resource solutions that address the world’s environmental challenges. The event is organised in collaboration with industry-leading organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, Environmental Services Association, and

In 2022, over 9000 professionals gathered to see industry innovation and hear updates from 200+ expert speakers. The event spans 3 exhibition halls and a large outdoor area for equipment, machinery, and vehicle demonstrations.

As the United Kingdom’s top meeting place for waste and recycling activities, in addition to land, air, energy and water services through the co-located shows, it is unmissable for anyone working with or selling into Europe.

One FREE ticket gains you access to all events.

Date: 13-14 September 2023
Venue: NEC, Birmingham
Halls: 17, 18, 19 & 10,000m2 outside area
Opening Times: 09.30 – 17.00

Register free and find out more:

RECOUP calls for interventions to increase transparency of marine plastic programmes

Posted: 23/05/2023

RECOUP calls for interventions to increase transparency of marine plastic programmes

Plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, has released its new River and Ocean Plastics Collection and Recycling Programmes Report. This report, available to RECOUP members, found that inconsistency and ambiguity in language and operations, risk undermining programme efforts to achieve the best results in removing plastic waste from marine environments.

The report analysed 30 global marine programmes, including a mixture of collection schemes, technical innovators, and those that manufacture equipment and provide software to collect material and store data.

Tom McBeth, Policy & Infrastructure Projects Manager at RECOUP comments: “Findings from the report showed significant variation across the programmes we analysed, ranging from differences in definitions and language used, materials targeted, environments collected from, and the transparency around the process and end destination of the material.”

On the consistency of language used to describe the material captured by these programmes, Tom added: “Inconsistency of language is a concern, with some programmes using wording around ‘ocean bound plastic’ to mean material ‘likely to enter waterways within 50km of open water’.  This would mean that water entering any river in the UK would meet such a definition.”

As interest in the sector grows, packaging producers are increasingly seeking ways to incorporate recycled plastics, and those collected from the natural environment, into new packaging and products.  It is therefore vital that standards are in place to ensure consistent, evidence-based results.

In order for marine programmes and their supporters to have the best opportunities to do this and achieve the best environmental outcomes, RECOUP has developed five key interventions that would increase the transparency and reduce confusion around marine programmes and their operations:

  1. Widely understood definitions relating to marine programmes are implemented.
  2. Creditable auditing takes place of the programmes and the material they collect.
  3. Programmes comply with international legislation.
  4. Programmes fully disclose information about the collection and management of material.
  5. More research and development of the technological requirements and infrastructure needed to recycle collected material effectively.

The River and Ocean Plastics Collection and Recycling Programmes report is available to RECOUP members to download from its website.

RECOUP report estimates over 120k tonnes of plastics available for recycling from UK Household Waste Recycling Centres

Posted: 16/05/2023

RECOUP report estimates over 120k tonnes of plastics available for recycling from UK Household Waste Recycling Centres

Plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, has released its 2023 Plastics Management and Recycling at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in the UK report, finding a significant quantity of plastics going unrecycled.

The report found that over 120,000 tonnes of rigid and hard plastics are disposed of at HWRCs in the UK annually, almost 3kg per household, but that little of this is recycled. This amounts to as much as £13mil of council and waste management company funds paying taxes and gate fees for disposal of this material.

Tom McBeth, Policy & Infrastructure Projects Manager comments: “Whilst known to be more difficult to process, of lower value and more highly contaminated than kerbside material, plastics collected at HWRCs offer an opportunity to capture more previously unrecycled material as recycling targets continue to grow. This, combined with increased demand for recycling and recyclate through various policies and legislation, means that there is a need for more materials to be captured and recycled, particularly domestically.”

As part of the report, RECOUP has developed a number of recommendations and interventions that would help enable plastic disposed of at HWRCs to fit into circular economy models, as well as potential steps to build on this research further.

These recommendations include:

  • Creating a robust dataset relating to material captured at HWRCs.
  • Better understanding the journey of this material from collection to its final destination.
  • Identifying the requirements for greater investment in UK infrastructure to sort and reprocess traditionally ‘hard to recycle’ plastics.
  • Develop re-use infrastructure to remove items being disposed of as waste in instances where they can be recovered.

The Plastics Management and Recycling at Household Waste Recycling Centres in the UK report is available for RECOUP members to download from its website.

For more information about this report please contact:

Tom McBeth, Policy & Infrastructure Projects Manager  01733 390021

Steve Morgan, Head of Policy & Infrastructure  01733 390021