UK businesses signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, including Boots, Tesco, Unilever and PepsiCo, increased plastic recycling by 107,000 tonnes in 2019.
That’s according to the latest report by the environmental charity WRAP, which suggests the amount of plastic packaging that was recycled increased from 44% in 2018 to 50% in 2019.
The findings of the report also reveal 64% of the current plastic packaging of Pact members is recyclable.
The research acknowledges 400 million single-use packaging items classified as ‘problematic and unnecessary’ were sold by UK businesses in 2019 – the estimated mass of material sold was 16,000 tonnes, which translates to a 40% reduction on 2018 levels.
According to the report, average recycled content has increased from 9% in 2018 to 13% in 2019 – this amount equates to 700,000 barrels of virgin oil and 66,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Marcus Gover, WRAP’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s great to see UK Plastics Pact members cutting unnecessary plastic packaging by 40% and increasing recycling to 50% in just one year.
“This was exactly why we set up the Pact, to tackle problematic plastic, increase re-use and recycling and stop plastic polluting the environment. I am delighted with the progress and very pleased to see leading businesses trialling refill and reuse alternatives.”
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I’m very pleased to see the progress of The UK Plastics Pact which is tackling one of the greatest threats to our environment, and I thank all those involved who are working on this vital project.
“We must continue to go further and faster to tackle unnecessary plastic, and that’s why we have recently banned the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and confirmed the extension of the single-use carrier bag charge to all retailers, which has already cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets.”