UK Household Plastics Collection Survey 2019

Date Published: Tuesday 28th January 2020

The 2019 RECOUP UK Household Plastics Collection Survey report is now available.  The RECOUP Survey is a specialist, research-based report for those working in or making decisions about household plastics waste and the recycled plastics value chain.

As well as a comprehensive review of the collection of household plastics for recycling in the UK, the 2019 Survey reports on the political and regulatory environment around plastics and plastic recycling; use of a Deposit Return Scheme; the potential use of chemical recycling; and the impact litter, waste and disposal ‘On the Go’ has on Local Authorities and their communities.


There are more complex data considerations around the 2019 report:

  • NEW plastic packaging Placed on the Market (POM) data.
  • BETTER UNDERSTANDING of the composition of data reported as ‘mixed plastics.’
  • ESTIMATING plastic film collections for the first time.


It is estimated that nearly 550,000 tonnes of plastics were collected for recycling from UK households, including 371,000 tonnes of plastic bottles, 157,000 tonnes of plastics pots, tubs and trays and 21,000 tonnes of plastic film.


Local Authorities reported contamination of material as the single biggest challenge they face to deliver effective collection services, followed by budget cuts for providing waste and recycling collections. This directly risks delivering effective services and widening the gap from the current situation to achieving a relatively litter free society.


There is a once in a generation opportunity to address these barriers. Steve Morgan, Policy & Infrastructure Manager at RECOUP commented: “With the UK looking to transform the future governance, structure and funding of how the UK manages packaging waste and meet commitments, although financial investment should increase it needs to be focussed in the right areas. The order in which legislation is introduced is important to their long-term success, and a careful balance will be needed between doing this quickly to meet immediate needs and optimising the systems to meet the UK’s long-term goals.”


Data, information and opinions from Local Authorities are central to this report.  The Survey is supported by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) and NAWDO (National Association of Waste Disposal Officers).


The report is available either through becoming a RECOUP member or for purchase at £499 + VAT.

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