28 March 2022
- TV presenter JJ Chalmers joins Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics to encourage people to recycle plastic bags and wrapping at front of store in a new nationwide ‘Repeat the Cycle’ campaign, launching today.
- 4,000 supermarkets across the UK now collect clean, used household plastic bags and wrapping for recycling at front of store.
- One of the ‘last plastics’* in our bins - plastic bags and wrapping make up 22% of plastic packaging but unlike many other plastics are not widely collected at kerbside, meaning only 6% is recycled**.
Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics are proud to work with TV presenter JJ Chalmers on a NEW plastics recycling campaign – Repeat the Cycle - designed to tackle one of the ‘last plastics’ in our bins.
The campaign is addressing a common problem experienced across the UK – the thousands of tonnes of plastic bags and wrapping which are not currently collected for recycling at kerbside and are lost to landfill.
With more than 84% of local authorities collecting plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays at kerbside for many UK residents, but less than 20% collecting plastic bags and wrappings. Around a whopping 290,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping goes in UK bins each year – destined for landfill and incineration.
Whether it’s bread bags, crisp packets or salad bags more than 4,000 UK supermarkets across the UK have now introduced recycling collection points within store for these ubiquitous bags and wrapping. All are linked with Recycle Now to help people find their nearest recycling point on the Recycling Locator.
JJ Chalmers said: “I’m thrilled to be supporting Recycle Now to help get the word out on recycling plastic bags and wrapping. It's a passion of mine to keep stuff like plastics in use and out of the environment - that's why I do a lot of work on upcycling. So, I think it's fantastic that we can now gather up our plastic bags, wrapping, and films, and bring them back to the store each time we shop. It's a simple habit that will make a huge difference to our impact on the natural environment.”
The awareness-raising campaign, which runs for two weeks until 11th April, will help reduce widespread confusion over what to do with these plastic items that very often contaminate collections. The latest research from Recycle Now shows that almost a quarter (23%)*** of UK citizens incorrectly put plastic bags and wrapping in their household recycling – usually through wishcycling– while plastic bags and wrapping is one of the most searched for items on the website by frustrated householders.
Sarah Clayton, Head of Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics, said, “Recycling is a growing success story in the UK, with most people now routinely recycling. But, if you look inside people’s bins today there remains one stubborn plastic that most of us can’t recycle at home –items like bread bags, chocolate wrappers, crisp packets and toilet roll wrapping.
“So, we’ve set out to raise awareness and nudge people towards new behaviours by helping them find their nearest recycling point from more than 4,000 supermarket options open to them on the Recycling Locator. It’s simply a case of bagging up your used items and taking them to your local participating supermarket when you next go shopping – and Repeat the Cycle!”
The campaign is supported by a host of brands, retailers and businesses signed up to The UK Plastics Pact. Participating supermarkets include Tesco, Co-op and Sainsburys with other major retailers on the cusp of rolling out services, or currently trialling options. The campaign is also supported by local authorities and UK governments.
James Bull, Tesco’s Head of Packaging, said, “We believe no plastic packaging should end up as waste but soft plastic packaging plays an important role in prolonging the shelf-life of some products and preventing food waste. So, while we’re continually working to reduce our use of soft plastic, we can’t get rid of it altogether just yet. Soft plastic collections combined with promotional initiatives like ‘Repeat the Cycle’ are essential to help prevent these materials from going to landfill.”
With Recycle Now helping people recycle more of their plastic bags and wrapping, Clear on Plastics will support its sister brand by bringing information and tips to cut through the confusion on plastics on social media and on its website.
WRAP, the NGO behind the Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics brands, is also leading the UK Plastics Pact. This recently published its ground-breaking new report on removing plastic packaging from fresh, uncut fruit and vegetables following research results that challenge accepted thinking that plastic packaging extends shelf life in the home, and showing that removing packaging can reduce food waste, by allowing people to buy what they need.
WRAP is also undertaking trials to increase kerbside collections of plastic bags and wrappings, and published industry guidance on how to manage front of store collections.
To discover more and find your nearest recycling point for plastic bags and wrapping, visit www.recyclenow.com/repeatthecycle
Notes to Editor
- JJ Chalmers and WRAP/Recycle Now/Clear experts are available for interviews, briefings and comment contact: Rachel Avery, Media Relations Specialist [email protected] 07540513407 www.wrap.org.uk @WRAP_UK.
- Repeat The Cycle Campaign page
- *The term ‘the last plastics’ is used to denote that plastic bags, bread wrappers, salad bags and crisp packets are one of the remaining - or ‘last plastics’ - people have told us they throw into the residual bin.
- ** Valpak, 2020, PackFlow Covid-19 Phase 1: Plastic, https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/packflow-covid-19-reports
- ***Based on 2019 Recycling Tracker Behaviours Report - https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/recycling-tracker-report-2020-behaviours-attitudes-and-awareness-around-recycling
- Recycle Now is one of WRAP’s consumer facing brands. Recycle Now encourages and motivates citizens to recycle more things more often, from all around the home. Using ground-breaking insights and behaviour change theory, Recycle Now campaigns through activities like Recycle Week.
- Clear on Plastics has been designed to give citizens clear information about the complex world of plastics and the environment, helping them to make their own informed choices.
- WRAP is a global NGO based in the UK. It is one of the UK’s top 5 environmental charities and works with governments, businesses, and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. It is the charity leading The UK Plastics Pact (a world first), Courtauld Commitment 2030, Textiles 2030 as well as the citizen campaigns Love Food Hate Waste, Love Your Clothes, Clear on Plastics and Recycle Now. WRAP works collaboratively and develops and delivers evidence-based solutions to reduce the environmental cost of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the plastic packaging we use. Founded in 2000 in the UK, WRAP now works around the world and is a Global Alliance Partner of The Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize.