UK Government Recycling Targets

Packaging Materials Recycling Targets for 2020

The following targets were announced in the Government Spring budget 2017.

MATERIAL 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Paper 69.5% 69.5% 75.0%
Glass 77.0% 77.0% 78.0% 79.0% 80.0%
Aluminium 52.0% 55.0% 64.0%
Steel 75.0% 76.0% 85.0%
Plastic 49.0% 51.0% 53.0% 55.0% 57.0%
Wood 22.0% 22.0% 48.0%
Recycling 71.8% 71.8% 75.4%
Recovery 78.0% 79.0% 82.0%

While glass currently seems to have a fairly high recycling rate it is disappointing to see that only just over 50% of aluminium is recycled even though it is also 100% recyclable.

Plastic which litters our streets, rivers and oceans is a major problem and considering the amount of plastic we use in our day-to-day lives we think that a 57% recycling target by 2020 is not nearly enough.

There is a lot of confusion about which plastics can and cannot be recycled and different councils have different rules depending upon their MRF facilities, and not all MRF’s are created equal!  For instance some councils will take all plastics, while others will only take bottles. And to add to the confusion some will take all except black plastic!   Unfortunately until we can have a comprehensive recycling system across all counties and boroughs we will fall short of the targets.


(Tables published by Ecoveritas)