Business under estimate packaging waste – UK businesses are drastically underestimating the amount of plastic packaging waste they produce while paying “barely anything” to deal with the problem, new research claims.

Britain generated 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2015, according to the latest available Government figures. But the true figure is likely to be more than 50 percent higher – 3.5 million tonnes – according to sustainability consultancy Eunomia.

It analysed the composition of UK waste and found that the system for calculating recycling rates is “structurally inclined to over-estimate” success.

Official figures state that 39 percent of plastic packaging produced is recycled but the true figure could be just 23 to 29 percent because of fundamental flaws in the way waste is measured, according to the report published on Tuesday.

Even the highest rate that the researchers consider plausible would have meant the UK missed its EU plastic packaging recycling targets in every year from 2008 to 2012.

The official estimate of the total amount of plastic packaging is based on a study conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Valpak, the UK’s largest recycling compliance scheme.

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