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UK achieves packaging waste target

Recent Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) figures reveal that the UK has achieved a strong recycling rate of 64.1% with an additional 6.1% of material used to generate energy, in 2017 – despite collection rates falling.

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Despite achieving packaging recycling targets, collection rates fell by 3.5%

Despite the combined recovery rate of 70.2% falling slightly lower than 2016, the figures put the UK ahead of the EU and exceeds the EU target to recycle or recover at least 60% of packaging waste.

Of 11.5m tonnes of material, 7.4m tonnes was recycled with a further 0.7m tonnes recovered by use in ‘energy from waste’ incineration. In terms of materials, the highest recycling rate achieved in 2017 was 79% for paper and cardboard, 71.3% for metal, and 67.6% for glass.

Despite all of Michael Gove’s grandstanding on plastic pollution, the rate of recycling for packaging went down last year

Despite achieving specific recycling targets, paper and cardboard collection rates fell by 3.5% from 3.9m tonnes in 2016 to 3.8m tonnes in 2017. Speaking to Materials Recycling World, Sandy Martin, Labour’s shadow minister for waste and recycling comments: “Despite all of Michael Gove’s grandstanding on plastic pollution, the rate of recycling for packaging went down last year.

“The failure of the government to increase the level of recycling during the past eight years means we are nowhere near meeting the European target of recycling half of all household waste by next year. This is directly linked to the government’s failed austerity agenda as cash-strapped local councils are forced to make impossible decisions on further cuts.”

However, the UK looks set to meet even more targets next year, with the UK recycling rate for waste from households achieving 45.7% - just 4.3% off the 2020 target of 50%.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter.

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