New study and video from Beyond the Box reveal the UK’s confusion over what they can and can’t recycle

As a nation it appears we are taking more interest than ever in the packaging debate. However, millions of Brits say they are still unsure of how to recycle correctly despite increasing concerns over waste.  This is according to new research from Beyond the Box. The campaign was established to raise awareness of the positive environmental credentials of cardboard packaging.

The new study of 2,000 adults shows that two in three Britons claim to be worried about packaging and the types of materials used to package their favourite products. Yet more than 55 per cent say they are still confused by what can and cannot be recycled.

And whilst 86 per cent of adults believe they are good at recycling, 53 per cent admit they sometimes think it’s easier just to throw something in the bin instead of working out if it can be recycled… and a staggering 57 per cent have knowingly thrown something in the bin when it could have been recycled.

Reasons given include one in four saying they didn’t know how to go about recycling it. 29% admitted it was too much effort to dispose of it properly. More than one in five said it was a product which isn’t currently recycled in the area they live in.

The findings are highlighted in a video produced by Beyond the Box, which brings together experts from the leading UK packaging companies to help Brits learn more about the UK’s sustainable packaging choice – corrugated cardboard.

The video, produced by Beyond the Box, features TV sustainability expert and ‘upcycler’ Max McMurdo – currently appearing in ITV1’s ‘£10k Holiday Home’ with Julia Bradbury – hitting the streets and chatting to the public to hear their views on recycling first hand.

The UK’s Confusion

Beyond The Box

Beyond the Box spokesperson Andrew Barnetson says: “Being green and recycling as much as possible is becoming a bigger issue every day.

“Interest and concern about the UK’s packaging supply chain has never been higher. Packaging is a subject which has shot up everyone’s agendas. Many are really trying to do what they can to try and make a difference.

“But concerningly there appears to be a great deal of confusion as to what can and cannot be recycled. As a result, there could be a huge amount of recyclable items unknowingly being sent to landfill.

“There is a real opportunity for sustainable, renewable and recyclable materials like corrugated cardboard to play an even bigger role in providing the sustainable packaging solutions we all seek. With a recycling rate of over 80%, corrugated cardboard has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material. To put things into perspective, this rate saves an area the size of Greater London from landfill every four months.

“It is clear that there is an opportunity for us all to work together to improve the UK’s recycling rates even further. Whether it be through increasing the number of collections and providing greater capacity, or educating householders about which types of packaging can be recycled.”

The Facts

The study also found more than a third blamed a lack of knowledge about what should and shouldn’t go to landfill as the main thing which stops them from recycling more often.

A third admitted to not knowing what they should do with their empty crisp packets.

25% aren’t sure whether cardboard drinks cartons can be recycled.

Almost one in 10 even admitted they are unclear if glass can be recycled.

10% are confused about cardboard.

One in four blame a lack of facilities near their home.

And one in twenty don’t bother to put in more effort as they don’t think it makes a difference.

Notes to Editors

For more information, including spokesperson requests, please contact Rob Waldon or Lauren Gimbel at Richmond & Towers Communications: / / 020 3179 0720

Bringing together experts from leading UK packaging companies, Beyond the Box, launched by the Confederation of Paper Industries, will help Britons learn more about the nation’s sustainable packaging choice: Corrugated cardboard.

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is the voice and face of the UK’s Paper-based Industries. It represents 79 member companies from an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £11.5 billion.

Consumer research:

  • Two in three Britons admit they’re worried about packaging and the types of materials used to package their favourite products. This is according to specially commissioned research, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers*.
  • Almost three in five of those questioned (57%) revealed they are avoiding plastic bags in the supermarket. Therefore seeking recycled packaging or supporting local businesses such as greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers in an attempt to ease their worries.
  • More than a third (38%) of UK adults are more troubled by packaging now than this time a year ago.
  • A number of worriers (17 %) revealed packaging was now so high up the agenda, it has become ‘socially unacceptable’ not to care about packaging’s impact on the environment.
  • For an astonishing 2.7 million Brits (5.3%), packaging is currently the ‘biggest’ concern in their lives.
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