Brits want more recyclable plastic bottles and would be prepared to pay an extra 2.5p for renewable alternatives to standard plastic packaging, according to Veolia and Recoup research

Plastic bottles

A majority of Brits would pay a few extra pennies for recyclable plastic bottles, according to new research.

Resource management firm Veolia found that 93% of people in the UK would pay an extra 2.5p for bottles with more recyclable content.

It also found the same number wanted plastic bottles to contain more reusable material.

The survey results in the Plan for Plastics report, co-authored by Veolia and plastics expert Recoup, show a gap between the amount of recyclable material used in bottles and public expectations.

Recoup chief executive Stuart Foster said: “There is more focus on plastic and sustainability than ever before, and that needs to be matched with action and progress.

“With circular economy and extended producer responsibility currently under debate, this is the ideal time to acknowledge the key issues and challenge current thinking.”

While 93% of respondents wanted recyclable plastic bottles, just over half wanted the majority of bottles to be made of renewable material.

Plastic bottles are less than 15% recyclable on average, according to the plastics report.

It suggests that making plastics environmentally-friendly will require recycling to be simplified and packaging standardisation that makes products recyclable by design.

Increasing the use of recyclable content in all new packaging was also considered a wise standard going forward.

Veolia claims it recycles 10,000 tonnes of plastic bottles every year and said the UK government should “remove the bottlenecks on greater recycling rates”.

The company added that it was planning to invest £1bn in recycling over the next five years.


Recyclable plastic bottles: ‘Increasing recycling rates can be simple’

Plastic bottles, single-use plastics, plastic packaging waste
The Veolia report found that less than 5% of waste plastic film was recycled.

Veolia said that improving recycle rates would be a simple task compared to improving the renewable quality of plastic bottles.

Veolia chief technology and innovation officer Richard Kirkman said: “The British public have told us they expect plastic bottles to be made of recycled content.

“We see 50% recycled content for plastic bottles and 30% for plastic packaging as realistic ambitions for every manufacturer to aim for within the next next years.

“When more packaging is both recyclable and made from recycled material, it will be the shift needed for recycled plastic to become mainstream.”

Statistics in the report put the proportion of plastic bottles collected for recycling at 59% while plastic pot, tub and tray recycling stood at a third of the amount disposed.

Plastic film fared worst on recycling, with less than 5% of binned film being recycled.