MONDAY 1 OCT 2018 4:11 PM


New research conducted by Veolia, a UK-based resource management company and market leader in plastic recycling, reveals that 93% of people think plastic bottles should contain recycled content and are even happy to pay an additional average amount of 2.5p more for it.

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer of Veolia UK & Ireland says, “The British public have told us they expect plastic bottles to be made of recycled content. We see 50% recycled content for plastic bottles and 30% for plastic packaging as realistic ambitions for every manufacturer to aim for within the next 10 years. When more packaging is both recyclable and made from recycled material, it will be the shift needed for recycled plastic to become mainstream.”

‘Plan for Plastics,’ a new report launched by Veolia and plastics experts, Recoup, shows an unjustified gap between how much of plastic bottles are recyclable materials and how much actually is. Despite the response in favour of recyclables, in most cases, plastic bottles and packaging contain an average of less than 15% recycled materials.

Stuart Foster, chief executive officer of Recoup says, “With circular economy and extended producer responsibility currently under debate, this is the ideal time to acknowledge the key issues and challenge current thinking.”

According to Veolia’s ‘Plan for Plastics,’ there are three ways the UK can change. The first is to simplify the recycling process, make recyclable packaging the norm and by increase the use of recycled materials when making new products.

One brand working hard on this problem is Coca-Cola Great Britain, which has carried out research into the disconnect between recycling motivations and actions within the home.

Liz Lowe, sustainability manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain, says, “We know people want to recycle, but it’s not always that easy. That’s why we want to remind people to recycle everything they can in the home – whether your soft drinks bottle or your shampoo bottle – so that more can be recovered and recycled into new products.” 

The research shows that despite 77% of consumers considering their homes the easiest place to recycle, 54% of UK households throw a minimum of one recyclable article in the general rubbish. The participants pointed to clearer recycling guidelines on packaging and better information from local councils regarding what can and cannot be recycled, as ways to make recycling at home easier.

Following the survey’s results, Coca-Cola Great Britain is partnering with Circular Economy & Resource Efficiency Experts charity (WRAP) to raise awareness regarding recycling and inspire more people to do it. In the context of the partnership, Coca-Cola has introduced a ‘Recycling Locator’ on its website, as well as tips and tricks for recycling at home.

Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP, says, “More and more people in the UK are recycling, but it’s important we get it right – which is why our Recycle Week theme is ‘Recycling. We Do. Because it matters.’ By partnering with companies like Coca-Cola Great Britain, we want to show people that recycling doesn’t have to be complicated, and help consumers recycle as much and as best they can.”

Through WRAP’s research, it was also discovered that older people are more interested in recycling than young people, with 62% of those aged over 55 saying they want to be a good recycler, compared to 37% of 18-24 year-olds.

To address this issue, Coca-Cola Great Britain came up with an integrated marketing campaign to drive younger consumers to recycle plastic bottles. The campaign consisted of a  TV commercial called ‘Across the Tracks’ along with a social media initiative called #CokeDunks, in which people are dared to film themselves slam-dunking their empty plastic bottles into recycling bins, in a unique and creative way.

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