Poor Communication Causing Plastic Recycling Confusion, Survey Finds

14-01-14(5)picA Recoup customer insight study into understanding the barriers to plastics recycling has revealed that poor communication from councils and unclear packaging is confusing residents.

The survey, undertaken by ICARO, was led by Recoup on behalf of the “Plastics Please” initiative partners. The research was supported by funding from Defra, the Kent Resource Partnership (KRP) and also the plastic recycling communications initiative steering group.

Key questions were asked to residents in order to ascertain whether certain materials were causing confusion with regards to recycling, and what their current plastics recycling behaviours are.

The survey revealed that residents were mostly confident about what materials could be recycled and what could not, with just over two percent stating they were not confident.

When asked what materials residents were mostly unsure about, 63 percent of answers were in relation to plastics.

KRP chair Cllr Barrington-King – “Consumer education is a key driver for behavioural change and to increasing plastic recycling rates in Kent and across the country”

According to the survey, reasons for the lack of certainty came down to poor communication on packaging and from local authorities.

42 percent of respondents said that they do received information from their council, but it isn’t clear regarding plastics. 42 percent also said this of glass. 29 percent said they don’t received information from their council. 43 percent said this of glass.

40 percent said information on the packaging of their plastic material is not clear, nine percent said that overall language used was confusing and 24 percent felt they were receiving conflicted messages (32 percent said this of glass).

Residents scored their council an average of 6.5 out of 10 for how clearly they communicate on recyclable plastics.

KRP chair Cllr Barrington-King said: “Consumer education is a key driver for behavioural change and to increasing plastic recycling rates in Kent and across the country.

“Consumers need ongoing help on which plastics can be recycled as technology progresses, and why there may be economic limitations for some plastics. It’s also important consumers see the evidence of how their actions have positive impacts. The KRP is pleased to support the emerging Plastics Please campaign both strategically and practically.”

Recoup chief executive Stuart Foster added: “This is one of the largest and most insightful plastic recycling consumer surveys ever undertaken and gives us a fantastic platform to develop a communications initiative which can achieve maximum impact based on the feedback received. The steering group will use the information from the consumer insight work to continue to develop plans which will culminate in a Summer 2014 initiative launch.”

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