In numbers: The public's attitudes to plastics recycling and plastic-free packaging - Chris Mee Group | CMSE

In numbers: The public’s attitudes to plastics recycling and plastic-free packaging

The launch of a new public awareness campaign, which focuses on the recyclability and reusability of plastic packaging, has led to the exploration of key behavioural barriers hindering a potentially rounded economy for the material.

Following the launch of the UK Plastic Pact, in effort to aid corporates work towards a unified set of 2025 sustainability targets around plastic packaging, WRAP introduces a new campaign aimed at another key area, individual consumers,  of the plastics value chain.

The campaign, known as clear on plastics, was formulated around the common phrase reduce, reuse and recycle and focuses on providing information tackling plastic waste at home and on the go. With 50 various kinds of plastics being used to package goods sold in the UK, WRAP aims to overcome this confusion about the varying degrees of reusability and recyclability, following the numerous local authorities who have different kerbside collection systems.

The public awareness campaign will implement a communications campaign both on social media and through various traditional channels. To amplify this great social media message, influencers and key figures from across the green economy, while the local councils and NGO’s will share the message via websites, print publications and out of home advertising.

Hi-Cone is a company who specialises in manufacturing plastic ring carriers for can multipacks using recycled content. Recently they conducted a survey, where they asked 5509 adults about their recycling habits in order to accumulate an update on the latter and to educate the people on the fact that 9% of all plastics that have been created, have been successfully recycled mainly due to the combination of policy, infrastructure and behaviour change.

The selected candidates for the survey were elected via YouGov to ensure that and accurate representative sample and a combination from four countries – Mexico (1,002), the UK (2,228), US (1,268) and finally Spain (1,011)

As result of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act respectively, Major policy changes around plastics production and recycling will be implemented in both the UK and US – in the form of resources and waste strategy.

Snapshot to the key behaviour change barrier:

  • 92% OD British Respondents say they recycle as much plastic as possible when at home, but that proportion falls into 63% in public places.
  • 2/3 of Brits feel they lack knowledge about plastic recycling
  • Only 1/3 of adults globally said they make a conscious effort to recycle all plastics waste.
  • A lack of confidence that items placed in recycling bins would actually be recycled was cited as the main reason for this.
  • 1/3 of people globally think that less than one in four plastic times they separate for recycling will get a second life.
  • Across all territories, one in three respondents weren’t sure whether it takes more energy and natural resources to recycle plastic than paper.
  • 80% of respondents globally said they would recycle more if provided with more infrastructure and guidance.
  • 8/10 people globally believe all plastic free packaging is inherently better for the environment than plastic packaging.
  • Only 35% believe that a small amount of plastic packaging can be better for the environment that a larger amount of a different material in some contexts.

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(, 2020) – Harvard reference