Repeat the Cycle

JJ Chalmers launches nationwide campaign to bag one of the ‘last plastics’ in our bins

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 3 April 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics have joined forces with BBC presenter JJ Chalmers for a new plastics recycling campaign – Repeat the Cycle – designed to tackle one of the ‘last plastics’ in our bins.

The campaign is addressing a common problem experienced across the UK: the thousands of tonnes of plastic bags and wrapping that are not currently collected in kerbside recycling and are instead lost to landfill.

Collecting bags and wrapping

More than 84% of local authorities collect plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays at kerbsides for many UK residents, but less than 20% collect plastic bags and wrappings.

Around 290,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping goes in UK bins each year – destined for landfill and incineration.

More than 4,000 UK supermarkets across the UK have now introduced recycling collection points within store for these ubiquitous bags and wrapping – including bread bags, crisp packets and salad bags.

All are linked with Recycle Now to help people find their nearest recycling point on the Recycling Locator.

Recycling confusion

The awareness-raising campaign, which runs for two weeks until 11 April, will help reduce widespread confusion over what to do with these plastic items that very often contaminate collections.

The latest research from Recycle Now shows that almost a quarter (23%) of UK
citizens incorrectly put plastic bags and wrapping in their household recycling – usually through wishcycling – while plastic bags and wrapping is one of the most searched for items on the website by frustrated householders.

‘Recycling is a growing success story in the UK, with most people now routinely recycling. But, if you look inside people’s bins today there remains one stubborn plastic that most of us can’t recycle at home –items like bread bags, chocolate wrappers, crisp packets and toilet roll wrapping.

‘So, we’ve set out to raise awareness and nudge people towards new behaviours by helping them find their nearest recycling point from more than 4,000 supermarket options open to them on the Recycling Locator. It’s simply a case of bagging up your used items and taking them to your local participating supermarket when you next go shopping – and Repeat the Cycle!’

SARAH CLAYTON
Head of Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics


 

‘I’m thrilled to be supporting Recycle Now to help get the word out on recycling plastic bags and wrapping. It’s a passion of mine to keep stuff like plastics in use and out of the environment – that’s why I do a lot of work on upcycling. So, I think it’s fantastic that we can now gather up our plastic bags, wrapping and films, and bring them back to the store each time we shop. It’s a simple habit that will make a huge difference to our impact on the natural environment.’

JJ CHALMERS
Invictus Games athlete, Winter Olympics presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star

Participating shops

The campaign is supported by a host of brands, retailers and businesses signed up to The UK Plastics Pact.

Participating supermarkets include Tesco, Co-op and Sainsburys, with other major retailers on the cusp of rolling out services or currently trialling options. The campaign is also supported by local authorities and UK governments.

While Recycle Now will help people recycle more of their plastic bags and wrapping, Clear on Plastics will support its sister brand by bringing information and tips to cut through the confusion on plastics on social media and on its website.

The case for removing packaging

WRAP, the NGO behind the Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics brands, is also leading the UK Plastics Pact.

This recently published its ground-breaking new report on removing plastic packaging from fresh, uncut fruit and vegetables following research results that challenge accepted thinking that plastic packaging extends shelf life in the home, and showing that removing packaging can reduce food waste, by allowing people to buy what they need.

WRAP is also undertaking trials to increase kerbside collections of plastic bags and wrappings, and published industry guidance on how to manage front-of-store collections.

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