Many UK consumers are unconfident about plastics recycling

Plastikflaschen (Foto: ©Ariane Sept /

Woodston, Peterborough / UK — Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of UK households are uncertain about plastics recycling, says a new survey on „Understanding barriers to plastics recycling. A consumer insight study“. Recoup has published that document that sets out current recycling behaviours and the barriers to plastics recycling. The research has been undertaken by Icaro on behalf of Recoup. The study was undertaken using primary funding support from DEFRA and the Kent Resource Partnership, with additional funding support from the plastics please steering group.

According to the study, one in three households (34 per cent) say they are „very confident about all materials that they can and cannot recycle; over half (52 per cent) say they are „mostly confident but unsure of one or two materials“ and 12 per cent say that they are „50:50 – confident about some materials but not others“. Only a small proportion – 3 per cent – says that they are not confident.

Among those who are uncertain about one or more items, there is a resounding focus on plastics – which account for almost two thirds (63 per cent) of all mentions. By contrast, only 7 per cent are unsure about certain kinds of glass, 7 per cent certain kinds of cardboard and 6 per cent about lids/tops.

There is demand for more types of plastic to be collected in  kerbside collections: Over one in three (36 per cent) households say that they would like to see plastic film, carrier bags and food packaging collected, second only to batteries (48 per cent). Just over one in five (21 per cent) cite plastic pots, tubs and trays and – reflecting their wide coverage already – only 8 per cent cite plastic bottles.

Current plastics recycling behaviours vary significantly by material type, as rates of claimed recycling differ – from near universal recycling for soft drinks bottles (87 per cent) through to low levels of recycling for ham and cold meat trays (46 per cent), ready meal trays (44 per cent) and plastic film/wrap (29 per cent).

The study was part of a campaign Recoup has started to increase household recycling of plastics in the UK. It can be downloaded from (1). Results and data can be found under

Source: RECycling Of Used Plastics Ltd (Recoup)