Charity and plastics recycling organisation, RECOUP, have called for a consistent approach to the collection of recycling data and accuracy in plastics recycling communications.
The organisation highlights that without this synergy kerbside consistency in collections cannot produce recycling targets.
Since July 2021, RECOUP has been working with the 13 Kent Councils in a ‘live lab’ project to understand plastics recycling communications and behaviours. The project, part-funded by Innovate UK, part of UKRI and industry partners, Kent Resource Partnership, Veolia, Ecosurety, British Plastics Federation, Plastics Europe, and PPS Recovery Systems. The work is also supported by Ocado, Sainsbury’s and OPRL.
The good news is people want to do the right thing.
RECOUP says the research has allowed a deep dive into citizen perspectives and analysis of plastics capture, sorting, and data analysis on a regional basis.
The organisation says the project connected with 1900 parish councils, 700 schools, 17,500 school children, 18 resident/advisory groups, 16 high street locations, delivered 678,000 household leaflets, distributed 170,000 community magazines, gained a social media reach of over 680,000 on organic posts, and collated over 3,000 citizen insights surveys.
Head of Citizen & Stakeholder Engagement at RECOUP, Anne Hitch, said: “This project has provided some fascinating insights into the relationship between messaging and behaviours alongside other influences.
“The good news is people want to do the right thing and if we can provide consistent and accurate messaging across all platforms, we believe we can really start to see sustained behaviour change.
“However, communications messaging must be based on sound data therefore, it is critical that across the whole of the UK we are measuring and classifying target and non-target materials in a unified way.”
[The project] has helped, not only to shape residents’ views but also to change behaviours.
RECOUP says the work has highlighted five factors of influence on plastics recycling kerbside collection rates and has thrown a spotlight on the importance of consistency in recycling data in relation to kerbside target and non-target materials.
To aid communications the project has produced a Best Practice Guide for UK Plastics Recycling Communications which will be launched at a free webinar on Wednesday 27th July at 10.00 am.
The Kent Resource Partnership, Sally Ward, Manager, said: “This project has provided such valuable information in relation to attitudes to plastics in general as well as plastic recycling. It has helped, not only to shape residents’ views but also to change behaviours.
“This has led to an increase in plastic recycling in Kent to the highest in the UK. The project not only delivered communications to assist in removing confusion of plastic recycling, but it explored how residents can be encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics.”