A new report by waste management firm Veolia has revealed that consumers in the UK want to see more recycled content in plastic products and are willing to pay more for it.
The report, titled ‘Plan for Plastics: The circular solution’, has been launched by Veolia and plastics experts, RECOUP. It describes an indisputable gap between what recycled content the public expect to be in plastic products and the reality.
Veolia asked more than 2,000 people a range of questions on their expectations and understanding of recycled plastic packaging.
Vast majority of people (93%) think plastic bottles should contain recycled content and most of them are also willing to pay an average of 2.5p more for it.
55% of people feel the majority of a bottle should be recycled content. In general, plastic bottles and packaging generally uses less than 15% recycled content.
Veolia chief technology and innovation officer Richard Kirkman said: “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.
Veolia already recycles over 10,000 tons of plastic bottles in the UK per year and is urging on manufacturers and Government to remove the bottlenecks to greater recycling rates.
The company is planning to invest £1bn in recycling and recovery infrastructure in the UK over the next five years.
In the report, Veolia outlined three steps the UK can turn plastic into an environmental success story. The steps include simplifying recycling to remove confusion; standardizing packaging so a product is recyclable by design; increasing the use of recycled content in the manufacturing of new products.
RECOUP CEO Stuart Foster said: “There is more focus on plastic and sustainability than ever before, and that needs to be matched with action and progress.
“With circular economy and extended producer responsibility currently under debate, this is the ideal time to acknowledge the key issues and challenge current thinking.”