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Confused about recycling?

Millions of Brits are still unsure what they can and can’t recycle
Confused about recycling?

Millions of Brits are still unsure what to recycle – with light bulbs, crisp packets and plastic packaging causing the most confusion, a study has found.

Visit Recyclenow to make sure you’re not one of the 76% of UK households adding items to recycling which aren’t accepted in your local area.

’Worried’ and ‘confused’

A survey of 2,000 adults revealed one-third don’t know what to do with empty crisp bags while one in four aren’t sure whether cardboard drinks cartons can be recycled.

Almost one in 10 even admitted they are unclear if glass can be recycled and another one in 10 are confused over what to do with their old cardboard boxes.

The study also found two in three Brits are worried about packaging and the types of materials used to package their favourite products, yet 56% are still confused by what can and cannot be recycled.

Unknowingly sent to landfill

The stats emerged in a study by Beyond the Box, a team of experts from leading UK packaging companies who say they want to change the nation’s attitudes towards packaging and recycling.

Spokesperson Andrew Barnetson said, ‘Being green and recycling as much as possible is becoming a bigger issue every day. Interest and concern about the UK’s packaging supply chain has never been higher.’

‘Packaging is a subject which has shot up everyone’s agendas and many are really trying to do what they can to try and make a difference’, Andrew said. ‘But there appears to be a great deal confusion as to what can and cannot be recycled. As a result, there could be a huge amount of recyclable items unknowingly being sent to landfill.’

Most confusing items

According to the survey, Brits are most confused about recycling the following items:

  1. Plastic
  2. Light bulbs
  3. Crisp bags
  4. Mattresses
  5. Cardboard drinks cartons
  6. Cooking oil
  7. Batteries
  8. Car tyres
  9. Wood
  10. Metal

Too much effort?

The survey also found that while 86% of adults reckon they’re good at recycling, 53% admit they sometimes think it’s easier just to throw something in the bin instead of working out if it can be reused.

And a staggering 57% have knowingly thrown something in the bin when it could have been recycled.

One in four of those said the item ended up in the bin because they didn’t know how to go about recycling it, while 29% admitted it was too much effort to dispose of it properly.

An opportunity to boost recycling

The study, carried out via, also found more than a third blamed a lack of knowledge about what should and shouldn’t go to landfill as the main thing that stops them from recycling more often.

One in four blame a lack of facilities near their home and one in 20 don’t bother to put in more effort as they don’t think it makes a difference.

‘It is clear that there is an opportunity for us all to work together to improve the UK’s recycling rates even further, be it through increasing the number of collections and providing greater capacity, or educating householders about which types of packaging can be recycled’, Andrew added.

Click here to find out why recycling is a generation game.

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