I remain critical of UK national and local government for not ensuring uniformly high recycling rates of household waste, but I must at the same time acknowledge that rapid progress is being made. The latest UK Household Plastics Packaging Collection Survey by Recoup shows that:
- 72% of HDPE milk bottles were recycled in 2009, substantially up from 57% in 2008.
- Overall plastic collection for recycling rose by 22%.
- 46% of plastic bottles were collected, compared with 39% in 2008 and just 13% in 2005.
- Kerbside collection coverage increased by 29% in 2009 to 23.3 million households.
Yet 10% of local authorities still do not offer any kerbside collection and 38% and do not operate additional “bring” schemes. Moreover, the United Kingdom was ranked 21 out of 29 European countries for plastic recycling and energy recovery in 2009, behind all the rest of West Europe as well as Poland and Estonia among others. The UK achieved just 25%, while nine countries managed rates above 80%. So there is still a very long way to go.