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Plastic Recycling in England - Statistics 2020

 
Plastic Recycling in England - Statistics 2020
 

The government estimates that approximately 5 million tonnes of plastic is used each year in the UK alone. That’s the equivalent weight of around 1 million African elephants. So just how much of this plastic waste gets recycled? And is your local council providing you with adequate resources to recycle your single use plastics?

 

 

 

In this article we take a look at the most recent Plastic Recycling Statistics of 2020 in order to provide you with the latest facts and figures surrounding single use plastic recycling.

What Does Your Local Authority Say About Recycling Plastic?

If you go to your local authority or council’s website, you’ll be able to see which items can and can’t be recycled. However, this advice differs depending on the area you’re in. You could even have different recycling rules than someone who only lives around the corner from you.

But why is this? How is it possible for one council to be able to recycle specific items and not others?

To find out, we collated all of the information on plastic recycling from councils across England. In doing this, we found the following plastic recycling statistics:

  • Only 11% of councils and local authorities in England allow you to recycle plastic carrier bags and soft plastic plant pots at the kerbside (in a recycling bin). The vast majority (89%) instruct you to simply dispose of these plastic items in your general waste bin.
  • 1 in every 10 local councils and authorities across England say that yoghurt pots and plastic punnets (such as fruit punnets) cannot be recycled, even though the majority of other councils say they can be.
  • 8% of local authorities and councils across the country don’t encourage residents to recycle their plastic drinks bottle tops, even though they’re made from recyclable materials.

Given these discrepancies, it’s no surprise that nearly a third of Brits think their local council’s communication on recycling is poor.

The Best and Worst Councils when it Comes to Recycling Plastics

We looked up the recycling information for every council in England, as mentioned. We wanted to identify which of the following 8 types of plastic you can and cannot recycle in each council area:

  • Yoghurt pots
  • Plastinc punnets (e.g. fruit punnets)
  • Cleaning product bottles
  • Drinks bottles
  • Plastic milk bottles without tops
  • Plastic drinks bottle tops
  • Plastic carrier bags
  • Soft plastic plant pots

In only 10 of the 342 councils we researched could all of the above plastic items be recycled. So we're naming these councils as the top ones here:

  • Chelmsford Borough Council
  • East Riding of Yorshire
  • Leeds City Council MBC
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Lewes District Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • Watford Borough Council

 

At the other end of the scale, there are 10 councils recycling just 3 of the above items. They are:

  • Barking and Dagenham LB
  • Bury MBC
  • Oldham MBC
  • Slough Borough Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Stockport MBC
  • Tameside MBC
  • Trafford MBC
  • West Berkshire District Council
  • Winchester City Council

Here's the full list of what you can and cannot recycle by council:

Council Yoghurt Pots Plastic Punnets (Eg fruit punnets) Cleaning Product Bottles Drinks Bottles Plastic Milk Bottles (Without Tops) Plastic Drinks Bottle Tops Plastic Carrier Bags Soft Plastic Plant Pots
Barking and Dagenham LB No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Bury MBC No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Oldham MBC No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Slough Borough Council No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Southampton City Council No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Stockport MBC No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Tameside MBC No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Trafford MBC No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
West Berkshire District Council No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Winchester City Council No No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Amber Valley Borough Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Ashfield District Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Ashford Borough Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Aylesbury Vale District Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Barnsley MBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bassetlaw District Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Bolton MBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Broxtowe Borough Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No
Eastleigh Borough Council No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Manchester City Council MBC No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Sheffield City Council No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Test Valley Borough Council No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wakefield City MDC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Adur District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Allerdale Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Arun District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Brighton and Hove Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Doncaster MBC No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Ealing LB No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Hampshire District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Forest of Dean District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Halton Borough Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hampshire County Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hart District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Havant Borough Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Havering LB No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Horsham District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Knowsley MBC No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Luton Borough Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Mid Sussex District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
New Forest District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Northumberland No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Portsmouth City Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Redbridge LB No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rushmoor Borough Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Ryedale District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Salford City Council MBC No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Somerset Waste Partnership Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
South Hams District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tendring District Council No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Thanet District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Waveney District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Worthing Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Wychavon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Basildon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bath and North East Somerset Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bedford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bexley LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Boston Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bournemouth Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bracknell Forest Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bradford City MDC (MBC) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Braintree District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Breckland Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Brent LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bristol City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Broadland District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bromley LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Bromsgrove District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Buckinghamshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Burnley Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Calderdale MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cambridge City and South Cambs Councils Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cambridgeshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Camden LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No  No
Cannock Chase Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cheltenham Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cherwell District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cheshire West and Chester Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Chesterfield Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Chichester District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
City of London Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Copeland Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Corby Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cornwall Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cotswold District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Council of the Isles of Scilly Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
County Durham Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Coventry City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Craven District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Crawley Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Croydon LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Cumbria County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Dartford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Daventry District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Derby City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Derbyshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Devon County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Dorset Waste Partnership Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Dover District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Dudley MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Cambridgeshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Devon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Hertfordshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Lindsey District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East London Waste Authority Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Northamptonshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
East Staffordshire Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Eden District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Elmbridge Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Enfield LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Epping Forest Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Fareham Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Fenland District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Folkestone and Hythe District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Forest Heath District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Fylde Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gateshead MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gedling Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gloucester City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gloucestershire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gosport Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Gravesham Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Great Yarmouth Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Greenwich LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hackney LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hambleton District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hammersmith and Fulham LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Haringey LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Harlow District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Harrogate Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Harrow LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hartlepool Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Herefordshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hertfordshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
High Peak Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hillingdon LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hounslow LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Hyndburn Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Ipswich Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Kent County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Kettering Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Kingston-upon-Hull City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Kirklees MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lambeth LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lancashire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lancaster City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Leicester City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lewisham LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lincoln City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Lincolnshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Liverpool City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Maidstone Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Maldon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Malvern Hills District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Merseyside WDA (MBC) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Merton LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Mid Suffolk District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Middlesbrough Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Milton Keynes Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Mole Valley District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Newark and Sherwood District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Newham LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Norfolk County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Devon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North East Derbyshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North East Lincolnshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Kesteven District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Lincolnshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North London Waste Authority Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Norfolk District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Tyneside Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Warwickshire Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North West Leicestershire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
North Yorkshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Northampton Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Northamptonshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Norwich City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Nottingham City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Pendle Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Plymouth City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Poole Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Reading Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Redditch Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Richmond upon Thames LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Richmondshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rochdale MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rochford District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rossendale Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rotherham MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rugby Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Runnymede Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Rushcliffe Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Scarborough Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Sefton MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Selby District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Sevenoaks District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Solihull MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Bucks District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Derbyshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Gloucestershire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Holland District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Kesteven District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Lakeland District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Norfolk Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Northamptonshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Ribble Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
South Tyneside MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Southwark LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Spelthorne Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
St Edmundsbury Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
St Helens MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Stafford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Staffordshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Stevenage Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Stratford-on-Avon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Stroud District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Suffolk Coastal District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Suffolk County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Sunderland City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Sutton LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Swale Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Swindon Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tamworth Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tandridge District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Teignbridge District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Telford and Wrekin Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tewkesbury Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Torbay Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Torridge District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tower Hamlets LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Uttlesford District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Walsall MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wandsworth LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Warrington Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Warwick District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Warwickshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Waverley Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wellingborough Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Welwyn Hatfield Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
West Lancashire Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
West Lindsey District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
West London Waste Authority Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
West Oxfordshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
West Sussex County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Western Riverside Waste Authority Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Westminster City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wigan MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wiltshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wirral MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Woking Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wokingham Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wolverhampton MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Worcester City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Wycombe District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
York City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Barnet LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Birmingham City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Blaby District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Blackpool Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Bolsover District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Brentwood Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Broxbourne Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Canterbury City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Carlisle City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Castle Point Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Central Bedfordshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Charnwood Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes yes No
Cheshire East Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Chorley Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Colchester Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Dacorum Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Darlington Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Derbyshire Dales District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
East Sussex County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Eastbourne Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Erewash Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Exeter City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Guildford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Harborough District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hastings Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hertsmere Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Huntingdonshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Isle of Wight Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Islington LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Lichfield District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Medway Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Melton Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mid Devon District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
North Hertfordshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
North Somerset Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Preston City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Ribble Valley Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Rother District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Rutland County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Sandwell MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Shropshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
South Oxfordshire District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
South Staffordshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
St Albans City and District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Surrey County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Surrey Heath Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Three Rivers District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Thurrock Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Vale of White Horse District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Waltham Forest LB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wealden District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
West Devon Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Worcestershire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Wyre Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Wyre Forest District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Oxford City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chelmsford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes yes Yes
East Riding of Yorkshire Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leeds City Council MBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leicestershire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lewes District Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nottinghamshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oxfordshire County Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Peterborough City Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watford Borough Council Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Asking Google for Help on Plastic Recycling

It can be so difficult to know all of the do’s and don'ts surrounding how to recycle single use plastics. If the packaging labels on our products tell us one thing and the local council tells us another, then what should we do for the best?

Well, like with most problems we have, it turns out that many of us have been turning to Google for the answer. The following statistics show the average search volumes surrounding plastic recycling in the UK.

 

  • Approximately 1,300 searches a month are made in the UK for the term ‘What can be recycled?’
  • A further 1,800 searches are also made each month for the term ‘Plastic alternatives’, suggesting that people are starting to think about using more sustainable products to help the environment.
  • Since January less year, the average search volume for the term ‘Recycling plastic’ has decreased.

 

How Big is the Issue of Recycling Single Use Plastics?

Almost all plastics can be recycled, but recent figures show that only 9% of plastics ever made are in fact recycled. So why is this?

Recycling statistics can only tell us so much, so to find out more we spoke to Dr Rachael Rothman, the Academic Lead for Sustainability and Associate Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at Sheffield University.

‘Local authorities across England give very different advice to their residents in terms of what can and cannot be recycled, specifically with regards to single use plastics. Do you think that local councils should do more to make sure that these materials are being recycled?’

“Yes, but so should producers, retailers and everyone else involved in the supply chain. Recycling tends to cause a lot of confusion amongst the public. In one area, we’re told that certain types of plastics can be recycled and in another we’re told to put them in our general waste bins. This confusion can unfortunately reduce peoples’ willingness and motivation to recycle. What’s more, it can also cause problems when it comes to recycling instructions on product labels as there isn't a consistent message.”

“If local authorities were all doing the same thing, it would help people to do the right thing.”

“This is something that WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) have been working on. They aim to introduce consistent municipal recycling collections with a vision of significantly increasing recycling rates across the country.”

‘Do you think it would be worth the additional time and costs involved?’

 

“It’s not just time and money that needs to be considered here. It’s the amount of energy and environmental impact, too. The onus isn’t just on the local authorities, this change is also reliant on consumer behaviour and producer responsibility. The childhood saying ‘reduce reuse recycle’ really is critical. If there was less reliance on single use plastics in the first place, we wouldn't need to use as much energy to dispose of these items.

It’s important to conduct life cycle analyses to ask the question "is it better to recycle this product or not?”, and the answer is not always clear cut. There's a real onus on the producers and on councils to make sure that if you have the option to recycle an item that it does actually get recycled.

Take a milk bottle for example. Around 30% of the plastic from a milk bottle can be used again to make the same thing, meaning this is a ‘closed loop’ process. These processes are extremely beneficial to the environment as they mean that we’re relying less on what we call virgin (or natural) materials as well as reducing pollution and plastic sent to landfills.”

Are there any types of plastics that can’t be recycled?

 

“Most plastics can be recycled. However, it’s not that simple. There are some types of plastics that are extremely difficult to recycle. Crisp packets for instance have multiple layers of different types of plastic. This makes them extremely difficult to recycle as the layers must first be separated into different plastic parts.

It can be really tough to encourage manufacturers to use more sustainable packaging when it comes to products like crisps. Even though the current packaging is problematic for the environment, it also ensures that the packaging remains lightweight, flexible and keeps the contents fresher for longer. If large scale producers such as these found new ways of creating packaging with smaller material sets, this would enable us to recycle more single use plastics, thereby reducing carbon footprint.”

 

What Happens to Plastic Waste That’s Not Recycled?

 

Back in 2015 a team of researchers conducted a detailed analysis to discover the fate of all mass-produced plastics that had ever been manufactured worldwide.

The study found that of the 6,300 metric tonnes of plastic waste that had been produced, only 9% of it was recycled. 12% of the plastic waste was incinerated and a staggering 79% ended up either in landfills or the natural environment.

We hope this article has provided you with all of the most important statistics on plastic recycling in England in 2020.