Technological watch

RECOUP: ‘UK kerbside recycling worthless without data and communication’

Leading UK-based recycling organisation RECOUP has called for more consistency in the collection of recycling data and more accuracy in plastics recycling communication. Without such synergy, kerbside recycling is worthless and will not meet set targets.

× RECOUP: ‘UK kerbside recycling worthless without data and communication’ Since July 2021 RECOUP has been working with the 13 Kent Councils in a ‘live lab’ project to understand plastics recycling communications and behaviours. The project, part-funded by Innovate UK, Veolia, the BPF and Plastics Europe, amongst others, is supported by retailers Ocado and Sainsbury’s and the OPRL. The research has enabled a deep dive into public perspectives and analysis of plastics capture, sorting, and data analysis on a regional basis.  

The project connected with parish councilors, schools, and residents’ advisory groups.  

Anne Hitch, Head of Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement at RECOUP, said: “This project has provided some fascinating insights into the relationship between messaging and behaviours alongside other influences. The good news is people want to do the right thing and if we can provide consistent and accurate messaging across all platforms, we believe we can really start to see sustained behaviour change. However, communications messaging must be based on sound data. Therefore, it is critical that across the whole of the UK we are measuring and classifying target and non-target materials in a unified way.”

The work has highlighted five factors of influence on plastics recycling kerbside collection rates and has thrown a spotlight on the importance of consistency in recycling data in relation to kerbside target and non-target materials.  

The project further highlights the importance of plastics recycling communication accuracy and inconsistencies between the various information touch points for citizens and draws attention for the need for on pack labelling, brands and retailers, local authority websites, and media to be using the same terminology and delivering the same message.  

To aid communications the project has produced a Best Practice Guide for UK Plastics Recycling Communications which will be launched at a free webinar on Wednesday 27 July at 10.00 am.

Adrian Whyle, Resource Efficiency Senior Manager, Plastics Europe added: “This research has provided unique insights as to how we can strive to reach our goals for the collection of increased volumes and qualities of recyclates from households. We need more high quality recyclates to reach our Circular Economy goal. Through the dissemination of the ‘lessons learnt’ from this pivotal research, municipalities and local authorities will be able to accelerate the increased collection of higher quantities and qualities of materials from households for recycling.”

Back to Search Results

Publication date: 19/07/2022

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

The website reflects only the author's view. The Commission is not responsible for any use thay may be made of the information it contains.
Last update: 2022-01-31