A significant recycling gap has been noted between recycling rates at home and on the go, according to a recent YouGov research.
Published by UK resource management Veolia, the research results show that rates fell from 75% of British adults ‘always' recycling at home to just 20% ‘always' recycling on-the-go.
The Veolia-YouGov research suggests that part of the UK's recycling setback may be linked to an inability to recycle conveniently outside of the home.
Describing it a “worryingly low” figure, Veolia said 88% of consumers surveyed said they would be encouraged by more convenient recycling facilities on-the-go and clearly labelled recycling messages on bins.
“It's encouraging to see how engaged people are with recycling and how willing people are to play their part in helping to keep resources in the loop; however, this on-the-go gap is concerning as we still fail to capture 44% of the plastic bottles we use,” said Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice president of Veolia UK & Ireland.
The findings were released by Veolia, to coincide with the official opening of its Dagenham Plastics Facility which is set to produce recycled plastic for the market.
The UK uses over five million tonnes of plastic each year of which it's estimated only 1.4 million tonnes (equivalent to 29%) is recovered or recycled.
The research has also provided insight into the general population's knowledge of plastic recycling with 68% stating they understood what could or could not be recycled.
However, there's still room for improvement with almost 1 in 3 (28%) still unclear of what is recyclable and what is not.
And there is confusion over the recyclability of certain plastic items.
For instance, for black plastic, which is challenging to recycle, 48% of respondents believed it could be recycled, while 21% of respondents believed non-recyclable plastic films could be recycled.
Globally, the UK produces nearly 300 million tonnes of plastics a year.