New research finds majority of plastic packaging being sent to landfill in UK

23 November 2016 (Last Updated November 23rd, 2016 18:30)

A new survey conducted by the UK’s Co-operative Group (Co-op) has found that two thirds of all plastic packaging used in consumer products in the country is being sent to landfill or incinerated.

A new survey conducted by the UK’s Co-operative Group (Co-op) has found that two thirds of all plastic packaging used in consumer products in the country is being sent to landfill or incinerated.

According to the survey, only half a million of the 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable plastic waste generated in the UK every year is being recycled

The company claimed that a lack of knowledge about the measures required to recycle various packaging products, as well as a dearth of local recycling facilities, could be contributing to the huge amounts of plastic being dumped in landfills.

"We need to stop thinking about this plastic as a waste and start to use it as a resource."

Co-operative Group environment manager Iain Ferguson said: “It is shocking that such a small percentage of plastic packaging is being recycled, especially materials that are already easy to recycle like plastic bottles. We are concerned that so much still goes to landfill every year.

“We need to stop thinking about this plastic as a waste and start to use it as a resource. What is needed is a coordinated response to the problem. This should start with retailers and major brands listening to recyclers and developing packaging that is better for recycling.

“Our long term ambition is for all packaging to be recycled where it can be, and we are making a bold start by setting a target that, by 2020, 80% of our products will have packaging that is easy to recycle.”

Co-op has already re-designed and simplified plastic packaging to provide easier recycling solutions to consumers.

The group also urged other UK retailers to develop new packaging to enhance recyclability and asked to launch clear labelling on packaging to differentiate recyclable items.