National scheme would ‘help boost recycling rates’

Published: 21 Sep 2018

By: NIC

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Close up of a pile of waste plastic

A new BBC survey today highlights the various rules councils have for whether households can and cannot recycle certain plastics – underlining the need for a national scheme as recommended in the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment.

The survey finds that there are 39 different rules applied by councils over what plastics can and cannot be recycled.

It shows that 99 per cent of councils will recycle plastic bottles and around three quarters will recycle margarine tubs, while only one in 10 councils will recycle plant pots and around one per cent will recycle polystyrene trays.

Social research undertaken for the National Infrastructure Commissions also highlighted how households find this confusing and frustrating.

To make recycling easier to do the National Infrastructure Assessment, published in July, recommended that there be clear labelling of packaging to show whether it is, or is not, recyclable.

It also recommended the implementation of national recycling rules by 2025.

Responding to today’s survey a National Infrastructure Commission spokesman said:

“Today’s survey demonstrates the range of schemes there are set by councils around the country, and highlights the real confusion households will understandably feel about what they can and cannot recycle.

“Our National Infrastructure Assessment recommends changes that would make a real difference, with one set of rules implemented across the country, and clear labelling on packaging to explain whether or not it can be recycled.

“This would help towards getting the UK to be recycling 60 per cent of municipal waste, and 75 per cent of all plastic packaging, by 2030.”

Notes to Editors:

Recommendations on reducing and recycling plastics from the National Infrastructure Assessment can be found here

Social research conducted by IPSOS Mori for the National Infrastructure Commission can be found here 

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