As many as eight in 10 households are still failing to recycle simple items like cardboard, plastic and food packaging – so let’s get real.
Thursday night is “bin night” in my house – the weekly challenge of knowing what can, and cannot, go in the green recycling bags. This task is not as simple as it should be and some research the Robinsons team recently conducted shows the scale of both the challenge and the opportunity. As such it is even more important than ever to support WRAP’s Recycle Week, to raise awareness and to tackle one of the great environmental challenges that we all must play a part in solving.
This year’s Recycle Week campaign theme is ‘let’s get real’. The idea being that we need to ‘get real’ about how and why to recycle and stop people from ‘wishcycling’ items that cannot be recycled or not bothering at all because it’s too confusing.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, we need to collect all the recyclable material possible so it can be processed and used again to make new products. Secondly, we need to make sure the materials collected are not contaminated by unrecyclable material which makes it harder, or sometime impossible to process. This is crucial if we are to create a circular system where packaging can be used multiple times.
One of the ways we can boost UK recycling rates for drinks containers is through the creation of not-for-profit, well-designed deposit return schemes (DRS). At Britvic, we have been pushing for a GB-wide DRS for many years, and are a founding member of Circularity Scotland, the scheme administrator for Scotland’s DRS.
Creating a DRS from scratch is a mammoth operation that requires many moving parts – which has contributed to delaying the ‘go-live’ date in Scotland. But whether it’s the commentary when that delay was announced, or concerns around the future of DRS in the rest of the UK – there’s a recurring theme that drinks producers are to blame, working behind closed doors simply to protect profits.
That is not the case. We are working flat out to get Scotland’s DRS into shape for August 2023, Ireland’s ready for soon after, and we are urging the UK Government to progress with their plans for DRS elsewhere.
Why? A fair and well-run deposit return scheme will have significant impacts on increasing recycling rates, which will increase the availability of recycled plastic (rPET). We need this rPET if we are to fulfil our aspiration to live in a world where great packaging never becomes waste.
There are still hard yards to go in Scotland to get the balance right of a scheme that delivers its goals in an affordable way, but August 2023 is marked in red in our plans – the scheme, and Britvic’s preparedness for it, simply must be ready by then.
We’re all coming together to make this happen – let’s get real to get it over the line.
Matt Barwell | Chief Marketing Officer