In the United Kingdom people shows great concerns on the issue of recycling. They are exasperated with manufacturers for not making enough effort to reduce their packaging. Seareach, an online security label manufacturing company carried out research to find out what irritates people most about recycling.  

The research carried out by Seareach, showed that consumers are more irritated by the continuous usage of unrecyclable packaging materials by manufacturers and that the local councils are not providing constant recycling services across the nation.

During the research, over 3000 people who are more than 18 years were surveyed. They were asked to choose what they think is responsible for the present recycling situation in the UK. They found out that the major concerns were:

  • 39 percent choose – Manufacturers use too much packaging
  • 24% go with – Not knowing the material to recycle or not
  • 11 percent – Lack of local recycling options
  • 11% – Onus to consumer, not manufacturers
  • 6 percent – Poor recycling labels, and
  • 6% – Confusing information

The majority of the respondents show their frustration with the amount of packaging manufacturers use. A lot of them were irritated knowing that many products come with packagings that are not at present recyclable. And that despite several consumers’ complaints, manufacturers still use black plastic which cannot be recycled to package food products.

Furthermore, the research showed that most people don’t know the materials they can and can’t recycle. This is as a result of the variation in the recycling law around the country. Some councils recycle packing that others don’t. With this variation, the people will need to search for the right recycling information in their area.

The study also revealed that many of the respondents feel that the local councils are at fault for not providing enough recycling options. And a lot of them argued that the materials which are sent for recycling eventually end up in a landfill or shipped abroad.

Seareach also asked the respondents what they thought would be the right solutions to the problem of recycling in the UK. They were asked for the ideas would you like to see adopted. The research revealed that:

  • 68% of the people would like to see – Recycling at supermarkets for all packaging
  • 67% would like to see – Consistent and understandable labeling
  • 65% would like the – Councils to be more transparent on recycling issues
  • 38% would like to use – Apps to scan barcodes for recycling info

From the above data, it means that many of the respondents want to be able to recycle at the supermarket. They also want better labeling that clearly states the materials that can be recycled or not and the provision of consistent recycling services all over the country.

They would also like to see a change in the types of materials that can be recycled and to finally put an end to packaging food with foil-plastic hybrids which can’t be recycled. The respondents also want to see the efforts of manufacturers and councils in helping consumers to recycle.

In finding lasting solutions to the situation of recycling in the UK, the following ideas were suggested by consumers

  • The councils should create more recycling centers in towns and cities.
  • The different recycling bins that can be found on the street in cities like Toronto should be adopted in the UK.
  • Use of less packaging or zero plastic packaging  
  • More options for refillable products
  • The ban on any packaging which is not currently recyclable  
  • Provision of deposit and refund schemes across the country
  • A total ban on single-use plastic bottles
  • Better recycling options for the elderly, disabled and people living in flats or sheltered accommodation

Stuart Jailer of Seareach when speaking on the research said:

“The feedback we got from this study was eye-opening with a huge amount of ideas people have and what they want to see in the UK. Everyone wants to be able to recycle effectively. However, they find this increasingly harder to do despite numerous campaigns on plastic and pollution. Improved labeling, more places to recycle various packaging types and ways to utilize technology were key points people wanted to see changed.”

He also added:

“A lot of people were concerned that even though we sort our packaging at home, once it gets to councils, we don’t know that it’s getting properly recycled. Instead, people worry that a lot of it is heading to landfills or being shipped abroad. Consumers want to have more transparency and also want to see manufacturers actually being proactive about the problem, with many people sick of the onus being on the consumer. It would be good to see a complete ban on unrecyclable packaging and a reduction in non-essential plastic products.”