On August 4, 2018, the newspaper The Guardian and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on an analysis by the UK Local Government Association (LGA) finding that only one third of collected plastic food packaging can actually be recycled. The rest is sent to landfill.

According to the LGA, UK households use about 525,000 metric tons of plastic pots, tubs, and trays per year, but only 169,000 metric tons of this waste is recyclable. This is because manufacturers often use a mix of polymers, low-grade plastics, or black plastics, all of which are difficult or impossible to recycle. Therefore, manufacturers should collaborate with councils to stop using unrecyclable plastics, the government should consider a ban on low-grade plastics, and packaging producers should pay for the costs of collection and disposal of unrecyclable products, the LGA suggested. Further, the association provided five examples of difficult-to-recycle food packaging and offered ideas for improvement.

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The Guardian (August 4, 2018). “Only a third of plastic food packaging can be recycled, councils say.

Matt McGrath (August 4, 2018). “Plastic food pots and trays are often unrecyclable, say councils.BBC

Roger Harrabin (July 23, 2018). “Recycled packaging ‘may end up in landfill’, warns watchdog.BBC

Olivia Rosane (August 6, 2018). “Only a third of UK’s plastic food packaging is recyclable.EcoWatch