The UK's plastics industry recycled more than 500,000 tonnes of material during 2011, according to a survey carried out by the British Plastics Federation's Recycling Group (BPFRG).
Roger Baynham, the group's chairman, said: “This survey reinforces our position at the forefront of the UK plastics recycling industry.
"However, the increased packaging recycling targets set by the government are challenging and will only be achieved by creating a credible route map, which must address the UK's over-reliance on export markets for its plastics waste.”
Simon Carroll, managing director of recycler Centriforce Products, said it was “encouraging" that the UK plastics recycling industry was achieving record outputs.
“UK targets are challenging and to succeed UK recyclers must strive to find both the quantity and quality of feedstocks they need to grow.
“Most processors agree the current PRN/PERN system essentially subsidises exports and discourages the development of a home-based collection and recovery infrastructure that can deliver the quality of raw material we need."
Carroll said the industry could take steps to help itself. "We took a bold move to invest in our plastics sorting facility last year and this has just been rewarded with a nationwide agreement with the John Lewis Partnership to reprocess all their plastics waste. We hope further similar arrangements will follow with other organisations.
“In the meantime, the government seems to have little appetite to get on and reform the PRN/PERN system and until this happens all UK reprocessors are fighting an uphill battle," he added.