Packaging company DS Smith, which has a factory in Lockerbie, has been researching waste and recycling. And they found that the average person gets through 242 plastic bottles, 109 coffee cups and 209 crisp packets every year.
Brits will also bin 378 snack wrappers, 251 cans, and 374 cardboard boxes or paper packets annually. It’s not just food and drink packaging piling up, as the UK will collectively throw away 468 million spray bottles from cleaning products and 520 million shampoo bottles every year.
The figures also show that 83 per cent are not clear which of these types of items can and can’t be recycled – and 30 per cent of recyclable material is thrown away into general waste, potentially costing the economy more than £95m each year.
According to the survey, there are two main categories when it comes to recycling: risk averse recyclers who play it safe if they are not sure and put packets in the general bin, or wish-cyclers, who put everything in the recycling bin and hope for the best.
Experts at DS Smith say the risk group’s actions could mean that 2.6m tonnes of recyclable materials could be going to landfill every year, while the wishers could be contaminated their efforts. Stefano Rossi, Packaging CEO, said there is a core problem about unclear recycling rules and information on packaging. He said: “There is an undeniable desire from the public to help with the climate crisis, but a lot of packaging is still not recyclable, and people are confused about what packaging goes into which bin.”
As a result the firm has launched a set of Circular Design Principles to help companies evolve to meet the needs of the public. Stefano said: “By introducing this set of principles, we can design for recyclability, design out waste and pollution, create packaging suited to a circular economy and make it easier to provide labelling to help consumers recycle more.”