1st December 2017

Not enough young people recycle plastics

Less than a third of young people in the UK are recycling plastics, a recent study has found.

The survey, commissioned by PlasticsEurope and RECOUP, the charity and not-for-profit organisation, revealed that there is a lack of awareness about recycling amongst the 18-24 age group. The main reason they do not recycle is due to being confused and ill-informed about what types of plastics are accepted for recycling.

More than 4,100 respondents from the UK, Germany and Poland took part in the research, and results highlighted that 29 per cent of young people in the UK didn’t recycle their plastics (24 per cent in Germany and 18 per cent in Poland).

Less than 50 per cent of people recycle all plastics in the UK after using them (45 per cent in the UK, 51 per cent in Germany and 35 per cent in Poland).

A total of 93 per cent of UK consumers prefer recycling over landfilling and energy recovery, when asked their preference, with similar results in Germany (95 per cent) and Poland (94 per cent).

The study also shows that where possible, consumers resist to send plastic waste to landfills (Germany 70 per cent, Poland 74 per cent and the UK 82 per cent).

In terms of environmental knowledge, there was a high level of awareness and understanding of sustainability in the UK (81 per cent) and carbon footprint (88 per cent), however, a much lower amount of respondents had heard about resource efficiency (21 per cent) and the circular economy (7 per cent).

Stuart Foster, RECOUP chief executive officer said: “It is important to understand how consumers in different countries view the resource management options available for plastics packaging, and there are some really interesting comparisons and trends in this new study.

“The challenge is now to implement these learnings into future consumer engagement campaigns such as Pledge4Plastics, to ensure they continue to be effective.”