Consumers want more information on how to recycle plastic, study shows


A study has shown that plastic is the material most consumers are confused about when it comes to recycling.

Led by Recoup with funding from Defra, the Kent Resource Partnership (KRP) and the plastic recycling communications initiative steering group, the research found that 63 per cent of consumers were uncertain about how to recycle plastic.


There was a wide range of responses from consumers when asked to give their council a score out of ten relating to how clear the instructions on plastics recycling are with 40 per cent giving a score of 6 or less.

Three quarters of respondents stated they are very or fairly interested to find out more about what happens to their plastics when sent for recycling.

There was a near universal acceptance of the need for recycling and most accepted that sending to plastics to landfill was unacceptable.

Over 70 per cent of respondents also considered burning plastics as a form of energy from waste acceptable, ahead of sending this material to other countries to be recycled.

KRP chair Cllr Barrington-King said: “Consumer education is a key driver for behavioural change and to increasing plastic recycling rates in Kent and across the country.

“Consumers need ongoing help on which plastics can be recycled as technology progresses, and why there may be economic limitations for some plastics. It’s also important consumers see the evidence of how their actions have positive impacts. The KRP is pleased to support the emerging Plastics Please campaign both strategically and practically.”

Recoup chief executive Stuart Foster added: “This is one of the largest and most insightful plastic recycling consumer surveys ever undertaken and gives us a fantastic platform to develop a communications initiative which can achieve maximum impact based on the feedback received. The steering group will use the information from the consumer insight work to continue to develop plans which will culminate in a Summer 2014 initiative launch.”

The report was launched at the Kent Resource Partnership annual conference.