Attention on plastics needs to drive recycling, says RECOUP conference chair

Bales of plastic ready for recycling

The main session chair at this year’s RECOUP Conference has argued that knowledge of plastics and recycling has not increased following mainstream media coverage of these issues.  

In an interview with RECOUP, Margaret Bates, a professor at the University of Northampton, debated that while there is an increased awareness of plastics and recycling, people still have not increased their knowledge on the subjects. 


She said because of this we now have “a possibly unique, opportunity to exploit this awareness and make people understand their responsibilities”.  

The professor added: “We need to ensure that designers, manufacturers and the public realise that recycling is more sophisticated than just bin men.  If we want recycling to work, we need to ensure that the material produced is of sufficient quality and that there is the demand for that material.  

This year’s REB Market Intelligence Summit is taking place on 2 October and will look at end destinations for materials. Find out more here

“Producer responsibility should join up production and demand and engage the whole value chain in the sustainable management of our plastic, and other, resources.  Government cannot, as I believe it has so far, rely on industry to drive the agenda. Increases in recyclability and recycled content have been driven by manufacturers working in partnership with their value chains – most importantly those that collect and reprocess material.” 

RECOUP chief executive Stuart Foster said: “The messages given to householders around plastics recycling need to be aligned and based on facts. Despite the recognised role of consumer engagement in a successful recycling scheme, there has been very little financial support available for these activities.  RECOUP is addressing this challenge through the Pledge2Recycle Plastics campaigns aimed at ‘Cutting the Confusion’ around plastic recycling.” 

The RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference will be held at KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough on the 27th September 2018.  


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