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Consumers Curious About What Happens to Recycling Beyond the Bin

New insights from WRAP’s annual recycling tracker have revealed that over half the UK population wants to know more about what happens to their recycling beyond the bin. The results of the organization’s survey have shaped the theme of this year’s Recycle Week; ‘Recycling — it’s worth it.’

A total of 3,239 interviews were conducted in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland by Icaro to inform the tracker. The analysis compares respondents’ self-reported recycling behavior to the known curbside service provision in their area using respondents’ postcodes and a database of all UK council schemes maintained by WRAP. This allowed respondents’ behavior, knowledge and attitudes towards recycling to be understood in the context of the services they have access to.

The findings showed that while 48 percent of respondents indicated that they wanted to be good recyclers, 65 percent of the UK population cited not being sure about what can be put in the recycling bin. The most common recyclable items not captured for recycling were foil (26 percent), aerosols (20 percent) and plastic cleaning bottles. For contamination, common items included plastic bags and wrapping (29 percent), dirty pizza boxes (23 percent), toothpaste tubes (22 percent), Tetra Pak (17 percent), bubble wrap (16 percent) and plastic carrier bags (15 percent).

The annual tracker also revealed that 48 percent of food waste recyclers put food items in the general rubbish. The most commonly cited items are tea bags and coffee grounds, unopened food still in the packaging, bones and egg shells.

The Power of '&': Integrating Sustainability into Business Strategy

Join us as Procter & Gamble CEO Jon Moeller and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias share their insights on how companies can embed environmental sustainability throughout their business and the role it can play in a business strategy — Tuesday, Oct. 17, at SB'23 San Diego.

Kicking off today, Recycle Week — a collaboration between WRAP and the Recycle Now campaign — aims to encourage more people to recycle the right things more often by bringing to life some of the transformations that different materials can take when they are recycled. Access to information about what and where to recycle are key to changing consumer behavior. As part of Recycle Week, Recycle Now has launched a new landing page for Recycle Week where consumers can access the Recycling Locator.

Now in its 14th year, Recycle Week attracts supporters from across the recycling supply chain and this year’s sponsors include The Co-op, Currys PC World, John Lewis, the Ocado Foundation and Wilko.

“Recycle Week is a great opportunity to remind people why their recycling efforts are worth it. We know from our research that there is still some confusion over certain items, but there is also the appetite to understand more about recycling and some people want to be really good recyclers, which is really encouraging. We have to get the right messages out there about exactly what can be recycled and the more support we can get, the better! Last year the campaign reached over 10 million people and we want to reach even more this year,” said Linda Crichton, Head of Resource Management at WRAP.

“There’s still time to support Recycle Week, whether you’re a local authority or a business. To help, we have lots of free, customizable resources like posters and fliers that can be downloaded from our Resource Library, plus a Partner Resource Pack with readymade posts and tweets for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as other ideas for how you can get involved."


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