The report found that 3.6 million tons of plastic material was generated in 2013. Of that, about one-third was recycled and the rest, 2.4 million tons, was thrown into a landfill or burned for energy, which is not considered recycling.
The research was undertaken by Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP), a nonprofit organization that works with businesses and government to establish data and partnerships to bolster resource management in the U.K.
According to the group’s findings, the majority of plastics that are recycled in the U.K. are exported – 715,000 tons out of 1.2 million tons. The rest, 338,000 tons, is recycled inside the U.K.
Packaging was the largest category of plastic generated at 2.4 million tons. Of that, 32 percent was recycled. Plastic generated in construction and demolition had the highest recycling rate at 75 percent. Only 12 percent of the 222,000 tons of plastic in end-of-life appliances and electronics was recycled.
About 1 million tons of PE and PP generated wasn’t recycled but could have been, according to the report. The same goes for 413,000 tons of PET.
The report looked at plastic generated both residentially and commercially.