The Ultimate Guide to Plastic Waste in the UK

The environmental impact of plastic waste in the UK is a topic of growing concern, particularly in the industrial sector. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of plastic waste production, its disposal, and the stringent recycling laws in the UK.  

Additionally, well explore the innovative, industry-leading solutions provided by phs Wastekit for businesses management of waste, focusing on our approach to handling plastic waste effectively and sustainably. In particular, we’ll take a look at the role of plastic balinga game-changer, particularly for businesses that generate significant plastic waste.

Industrial plastic waste in the UK 

The UK's industrial sector contributes significantly to plastic waste, with the nation generating 40.4 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2021 a substantial portion of which was plastic. Of particular note is plastic packaging waste, such as snack bags, packets, and wrappers, as well as food and vegetable packaging. Again in 2021, the UK produced around 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste, and this figure has changed very little over the last 10 years despite innovations in the production of more sustainable packaging solutions. On a consumer level – this massive volume of plastic waste equates to an average of 66 items of plastic packaging thrown out by UK households each week. 

There is no denying the impact of this waste is significant, both environmentally and ecologically. The ecological consequences are stark, with around 1.7 million tonnes of the world’s plastic ending up in oceans, and a disturbing finding that 100% of animals washed up on British shores had ingested plastic. These statistics underscore the urgent need for continued efforts in reducing plastic use, enhancing recycling, and innovating in waste management to mitigate the environmental impact of plastic waste. 

Yet, despite these disturbingly high waste statistics, progress is being made in recycling efforts. In 2021, 63.2% of the packaging waste was recycled, and the overall recycling rate for waste from households reached 44.6%.  

As legislation continues to tighten up around industrial production of plastic waste, companies must look for ways to take account of and manage waste production all the more, maximizing the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic waste as effectively as possible. 

Disposal and recycling laws and guidance 
In the UK, certain laws, policies and guidance govern the disposal of plastic waste and promote recycling. One notable regulation is the UK-wide Plastic Packaging Tax, which incentivises the use of recycled materials in packaging. In England, the waste recycling programme sets how the UK Government wants to bring about more effective and efficient treatment of waste. Even more directive is the change to workplace recycling law coming into effect in Wales from 6 April 2024. 

Businesses are required to take heed of and/or comply with these strategies and laws to improve environmental impact and in some cases, avoid penalties and fines. Compliance not only ensures adherence to legal requirements but also demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship. As such, understanding and following these guidance and regulations is essential for businesses to maintain their operational integrity and contribute to environmental sustainability. 


Managing large volumes of plastic waste 

The effective management of large volumes of plastic waste by businesses requires a systematic and multifaceted approach to ensure as much as possible is transferred either to recycling, incineration, or sealed landfill. This process typically involves several stages including collection, sorting, processing, and ultimately transferral to the appropriate channel 

As much as possible, businesses should aim to produce only recyclable waste, so as to convert it to reusable materials and thus contribute positively to the circular economy. By efficiently recycling plastic waste, businesses can significantly reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Whilst the appropriate bins are essential to collecting and separating out each type of waste produced, keeping the volume of waste at a manageable level can be challenging. This is where plastic baling comes into its own – providing businesses with the means to control their volume of plastic waste and more easily transfer it to the appropriate channels. 

Services provided by phs Wastekit 

With over 35 years of experience, phs Wastekit stands out as a provider of comprehensive waste management solutions. We offer an array of services, which are tailored to meet the diverse needs of businesses dealing with plastic waste, reduce costs and increase efficiency. These include:

1. Top-class
plastic balers: These machines are a cornerstone in waste management, enabling businesses to operate in a more sustainable manner. They compact plastic waste, making it easier to handle and recycle.

2. High-quality bin and bag compactors
: These easy-to-use versatile machines can be used for most types of waste, reducing volume of bins and bags, and maximising the space available to store waste. THis enables businesses to reduce their waste collection frequency and costs. 

3. Waste-saving audits:
These audits are a vital component in identifying potential savings in waste management. They provide insights into how waste (cardboard and plastic) balers and compactors can make waste disposal more economical. 

4. The whole solution approach: This approach encompasses a free audit, significant savings in waste disposal, the possibility of generating additional revenue through the sale of baled waste and achieving environmental goals. 

5. Free site survey: These tailored surveys offer bespoke recommendations for efficient waste management. They also provide an opportunity to trial suggested equipment, ensuring suitability for the business's specific needs. 

6. Diverse product range: Reflecting our commitment to catering to diverse business needs, phs Wastekit offers a range of baling and compacting equipment, considering factors such as space, budget, and performance. 


Final thoughts… 

Addressing the challenge of plastic waste in the UK is a multifaceted endeavor, requiring the collaboration of industries, compliance with regulatory standards and guidance, and the adoption of efficient waste management solutions.  


phs Wastekit’s role in this process is significant, providing a range of equipment and services that align with environmental goals and regulatory compliance. Our innovative approaches to waste management, including the use of plastic baler machines, are instrumental in driving the UK towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.  


You can book in a meeting with our sales consultant team and find out more about phs Wastekit services and products. Just go to our Contact Us page for more information on getting in touch. 

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