The objective of this project was to undertake compositional analysis of the plastic received and produced by Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Plastic Recovery Facilities (PRFs). This will provide WRAP and the wider supply chain with up to date estimates on the amount and type of post-consumer plastic packaging collected for recycling.

The analysis took place across a sample of 14 facilities in England and Wales between October and early December 2017. The facilities included a variety of sizes, geographical locations and materials accepted for sorting. The sample included 12 MRFs and 2 PRFs. This represents around 14%  of the facilities in the UK.

Across the study 122 samples of input material and 62 samples of output materials were analysed to ascertain the composition in terms of proportion of total plastics, different formats of the packaging e.g. bottles, rigid packaging such as pots, tubs and trays and film, as well as polymer type.

The analysis also considered the presence and quantities of black plastic packaging and non-packaging plastics which although technically recyclable, are generally not due to the challenges in sorting and reprocessing of these materials.