Pandemic-Driven Lifestyle Changes ‘Increased Recycling Rates’

While the pandemic has certainly been difficult for us all, it seems that there has been one silver lining to be found in all the furore and that’s the increase in recycling rates around the country that has been seen since March, driven by the lifestyle changes made necessary by the coronavirus crisis.

People have been working from home, travelling and commuting less, doing home schooling and consuming less food on the go, all of which have combined to see a significant increase in the recycling rates of plastic from household collections, according to the latest UK Household Plastics Collection Survey from charity RECOUP.

Covering retrospective data from 2019, the 2020 survey shows that up until March this year, the overall rate of plastics recycling rose by two per cent. Up until then, people weren’t really connecting with the recycling message and plastics packaging wasn’t being given to local authorities to process into new products.

But more recent stats show that changes in lifestyles saw a significant increase in recycling rates among households. And given that there have been loud calls made recently for a green recovery from covid, it’s important not to underestimate the loss from plastic packaging not collected for recycling in terms of resource value.

Policy and infrastructure manager Steve Morgan said: “Local Authorities report an increase in excess of 20 per cent of recycling in the first lockdown period,  evidence which has been backed up by RECOUP members Veolia who have seen a ten per cent increase in kerbside plastics collected this year. 

“This is a sizeable increase on figures from the 2020 RECOUP Plastics Collection Survey report which showed only a two per cent increase in collection rates during 2019.”

Further RECOUP research has suggested that the UK needs to increase its infrastructure to sort plastic packaging to the requisite quality in order to meet the additional demands of the recycled content target of at least 30 per cent, while serving commitments to increase circular and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.

For help with recycling in Chiswick, get in touch with us today.

Comments for this post are closed.