December 14, 2022

Where Does the UK Stand on Recycling?

Where Does the UK Stand on Recycling?

As world-wide recycling rates are on the rise, the world’s population is also continuing to expand, and as a result, we’re now having to produce an increasing amount of products in order to keep up with demand, which has meant there’s more waste being produced than ever before. 

UK Homeowners and Recycling

A recent survey by Meanwell Packaging revealed 73% of UK adults recycle to the best of their ability, whilst 22% state that they do recycle, but could make improvements to their method of doing it. For example, they said they could be recycling more frequently, be recycling a wider range of materials or should be making the effort to wash the items before recycling them.

The survey also cited that 2% of homeowners said they don’t recycle but should start, a small amount of 3% don’t recycle at all and don’t have any intention of doing so, but however, only 1 in 20 UK adults (5%) say they never recycle.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most environmentally conscious age group in the UK when it comes to recycling is those aged 55-64, with 86% always recycling to the best of their ability.

So What Could We Do Better?

Insight from showed us that the UK’s attitude to recycling is positive and common in practice, with nine in ten (88%) UK households saying they frequently recycle. However, four in five homes have confessed to causing cross-contamination, as they have put non-recyclable items in their recycling bins.

The report also suggests that the contamination is fundamentally the result of well-meaning but misplaced attempts at recycling, not due to a lack of care. For example, some homeowners have put damaged drinking glasses in the recycling, and think that it is accepted in their bin collection.  

UK Recycling Facts

As online shopping is an activity many of us enjoy, we’re not surprised that Amazon reported a record performance in 2020. A staggering 2.8 billion parcels were sent around the UK last year, generating, you guessed it, packaging! Luckily for us, most current packaging materials are 100% recyclable, and paper and cardboard are the things we recycled most in 2021.

Insight from Statista showed us that we recycle around 80% of paper and cardboard in the UK each year. That number could be increased to 90% or even 95% if we made the efforts to make sure we place each piece of paper packaging in the recycling bin.

We found some interesting recycling facts to share – 

  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed in a recent report that British households create over 26m tonnes of waste each year, which is around the weight of around 260 large cruise ships!
  • Knowing this, it means the typical person in the UK will throw away around 400kg of waste each year; 7 times their body weight!
  • Of the 26m tonnes of waste produced in the UK, 12m tonnes are recycled, and 14m tonnes are directed to landfill. This gives the UK an average recycling rate of 45%.
  • The UK government has set a target for us to recycle 50% of all household waste by 2020.

So Why Should We Recycle?

  1. Recycling conserves resources
  2. Recycling saves energy
  3. Recycling helps to protect the environment
  4. Recycling reduces landfill and waste

Recycling is pretty simple, and most of us are recycling as much as we can. We can’t stop waste production completely, but everyone can make their significant contributions, and recycle to the best of their ability.

You can read further information about the GGF’s Aluminium, uPVC, Timber and Glass Recycling Schemes by Clicking Here