The waste reduction experts at WRAP have brought together representatives from across the waste management sector to create an industry framework that could divert up to 11 million tonnes more recyclable material from disposal in England.
Supported by the U.K.’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and DCLG, the ‘Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling for England’ offers opportunities for businesses and local authorities to save money and avoid around 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
“As an industry we have achieved so much in the last 15 years. A thriving recycling industry has been created and recycling is now a way of life. When Defra asked us to investigate the opportunities for greater consistency, we were delighted to lead this, and to work with representatives from each stage of the recycling supply chain,” said Marcus Gover, the CEO at WRAP. “By pooling the wealth of recycling experience from across the sectors, we have developed a vision that offers the opportunity to increase recycling, improve the quality of recycled materials, save money and offer a good service to householders. It is only by joining together that we can now realise the benefits of the vision and I look forward to working with all those involved to do that.”
Published today, the framework draws on good practices by local authority and industry, and suggests these actors collaborate to address recycling barriers such as packaging recyclability, consumer, and collection rates of core materials. Further, WRAP recommends these actions are supported by widespread communications with householders using the same messages.
If effectively implemented, WRAP’s calculations show that the framework could increase England’s recycling rate by seven percentage points and divert more than 8 million tonnes of food waste (WRAP also recently created a Food Waste Recycling Action Plan). At the same time, the organization recognizes that improving consistency in household recycling is going to require the collective action of brands, retailers, manufacturers, local authorities, waste management companies and reprocessors – which may not be an easy feat. WRAP is working with seven local authority areas to evaluate their business cases for consistency and has helped organize industry groups to target recycling barriers.
Meanwhile on the consumer side of things, WRAP’s national ‘Recycle Now’ campaign is using the theme of ‘The Unusual Suspects’ to target less obvious recyclable items throughout homes.
WRAP research has shown that almost half (49 percent) of UK households dispose of one or more items in the residual bin that are collected for recycling in their area. Foil, aerosols and plastic cleaning bottles are among the items most commonly tossed when they could be recycled.
To help people spot those ‘unusual’ recyclables that are often missed, the campaign is engaging the public across its digital platforms. It highlights those hidden items, such as shampoo and cleaning bottles from the bathroom and tissue boxes from the living room. It also uses new motivational messages that have been developed to bring home the benefits of recycling, such as ‘recycling one hand soap dispenser every month for a year saves enough energy to bake yourself a birthday cake.’
One of the main digital communications will be Recycle Now’s take on the well-known cult crime thriller film The Usual Suspects (1992). This week, “The Unusual Suspects” short film is being released in four parts on the Recycle Now website and will culminate in the chance to win a set of Joseph Joseph in-home recycling bins or an iPad.
“It’s become routine to recycle the usual suspects in our kitchens, but some items around the home like perfume bottles and beauty cream pots are often overlooked. Our research tells us just 12 percent of people are doing all they can when it comes to recycling, so Recycle Week is a great opportunity to ask people to take a fresh look at their recycling habits and consider those lesser recognised items, so we can collect more of the right things,” said Recycle Now spokesperson Alice Harlock.
Recycle Now is working with partners to spread the messages right across the UK. Those interested in getting involved are invited to download the partner’s resource pack to learn more about the campaign.