Consumers confused by plastic recycling

When it comes to plastic packaging, the majority of consumers have no idea what to recycle according to new research from the USA.

An online poll by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)and Earth911, found 65% of respondents say they don’t understand what plastics are acceptable in kerbside collection.

The poll asked a simple question: ‘What do you find most confusing about recycling plastic?’ A total of 1,177 people answered, with the top reply at 37% being ‘Knowing how much food contamination is acceptable.’

Next, 28% say ‘Understanding what types of plastic my municipality accepts in their kerbside recycling program.’

Then 18% of respondents say they are confused about ‘Finding where I can recycle plastics.’ Lastly, 17% admit to not being a ‘numbers’ person, choosing the option of ‘The meaning of the recycling numbers.’

Michael Bennett of specialist packaging and environmental PR communications consultancy Pelican Communications commented: “Whilst the study’s questions may have been leading, they do demonstrate the need to educate consumers about what materials can and cannot be recycled.

“For plastic recycling this is a serious challenge and one the industry needs to address, otherwise brand owners may find themselves opting for materials that are simple to recycle and better understood by consumers.”

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.