Close up of plastic bottles with yellow lids

Benefits of greater consistency for brands, retailers & manufacturers

How can brands, retailers and manufacturers work towards consistency?

Good progress has been made by brands, retailers and manufacturers in designing packaging that can be recycled, enabling local authorities to improve collections and recycling of these materials from householders.

However, the national recycling rate has stalled and end markets for some plastics are a cause for concern. Consumers continue to be confused over whether or not they can recycle packaging and collections of packaging are not consistent across the nation. There are actions we can take to improve the quality and quantity of recycling.

Working together towards consistency infographic

The three key calls-to-action

1. Where practical and environmentally beneficial, packaging should be designed to be recyclable. This involves using polymers for which there are strong end markets.
2. Specify recycled content in packaging to encourage secondary materials markets.
3. Provide clear and consistent information on-pack on what can and cannot be recycled.

How can businesses benefit from greater consistency?

Through the delivery of greater consistency in recycling, there are opportunities for significant benefits, such as:

  • Building consumer confidence - WRAP’s research shows that there is a strong correlation between concerns about packaging materials and how easy it is to recycle them at home. Many consumers therefore believe that making more packaging recyclable would be beneficial.

  • Supporting consumers to recycle - WRAP’s evidence shows that the majority of consumers want to ‘do the right thing’ by recycling their packaging but 73% of people are confused on what they can or cannot recycle. Where practical and environmentally beneficial, rationalising packaging formats to those which are readily recyclable and labelling packaging with meaningful consumer information to indicate whether it can be recycled or not, will help reduce confusion and help consumers to recycle.

  • Reduced reliance on virgin materials - Ensuring packaging is recyclable and labelled to indicate whether it can be recycled or not will reduce the risk of it ending up as a lost resource in landfill. In turn, this will reduce reliance on virgin packaging materials.

  • Reduced costs - As greater quantities of higher quality packaging are collected for recycling, this will lead to increased availability of recycling evidence so helping to contain any potential increase in compliance costs under the packaging regulations due to higher targets.

Tackling plastic waste

Join The UK Plastics Pact

The UK Plastics Pact brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

Pact members will eliminate problematic plastics reducing the total amount of packaging on supermarket shelves, stimulate innovation and new business models and help build a stronger recycling system in the UK.

Find out how your organisation can get involved