Plastic Recycling

Public confused about what plastics can be recycled survey finds

Empty Plastic Bottle Use As A Container For Growing Plant, Recyc

Recycling initiative, Pledge 4 Plastics, has found that 34 per cent of people it interviewed in a survey were confused about the type of plastic that could be recycled in the home.

Furthermore, the study found that up to 90 per cent of people were unaware of the term “circular economy” or what it meant.

Backed by several organisations, including Recoup, and Marks & Spencer, the research aimed to understand consumer attitudes in regards to waste and recycling, following a previous survey carried out in 2014.

The new research did find however, that 79 per cent of people refer to on-pack recycling information to find out whether something is recyclable. A third of people said that they use these systems for most items that they throw out.

From the feedback gained, it is clear that consumers wish for consistency amongst common materials in regards to whether they can be recycled or not.

Steve Morgan, RECOUP technical manager said that:

“Although consumer views change over time confusion about what can and cannot be recycled is seemingly as prevalent today as it was two years ago.

This is reflected in the recent fall in the recycling rate in the UK. The role of OPRL in reducing consumers’ confusion can only be maximised by consistent collection of materials irrespective of where you live.”

Kevin Vyse, senior packaging technologist and innovation lead at Marks & Spencer, said that:

“Without understanding the consumer, giving them the incentive to recycle and supporting them via packaging information, there won’t be enough material to drive an effective circular economy.

“As one of the first retailers to introduce the on pack recycling label across all our packaging, we know it is an essential tool for customers in understanding what to recycle and how.”

Out of the respondents, only two per cent said that they simply did not see the point of recycling, with another one per cent stating that they thought it was less important to recycle plastics compared to other materials such as paper or glass.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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