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Recycled Confusion: Most Adults Unaware Of What Can And Can’t Be Recycled

"Even I struggle to know what I can and can’t recycle at home,” says Johanna Konta.

Millions of adults are still confused about what can be recycled at home – with over half (55 percent) unaware that soft plastics, like shopping bags and salad bags, aren’t collected in curbside garbage collections.

A study of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom found more than a third (36 percent) incorrectly believed toilet roll wrappers could be put into the municipal recycling boxes. In contrast, 30 percent thought the same of supermarket bags.

Others also believed bread bags (21 percent), salad packaging (19 percent), and drinks shrink wrap (11 percent) can be recycled from home.

But just one in three are confident they can identify flexible plastic items in the home.

It also emerged that 95 percent regularly recycle what they can.

The stats emerged in a study by British sustainable online grocer Abel & Cole, which commissioned the study to mark the launch of its doorstep recycling scheme for flexible plastics – something that accounts for 300,000 tons of packaging waste a year.

After a trial earlier this year, the service is being rolled out across the UK and will see the brand collect flexible plastics from any retailer and homes to be recycled and repurposed into sustainable building materials.

A notice on a recycling bin explains what can and can’t be recycled on March 2, 2010 near Leatherhead, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Hugo Lynch, Abel & Cole’s sustainability projects manager, said: “We’ve been passionate about doing the best for the planet since we first launched our organic veg delivery service 33 years ago.

“And that passion extends to helping our customers live their most sustainable lives, too.

“Rolling out “Plastic Pick-Up” across the nation is one of our most ambitious schemes yet, but we know it’s going to be worth it – with the potential to save tonnes of waste from landfill every single day.”

To celebrate the launch, and help Brits get to grips with the flexible plastics in their waste, former British women’s number one tennis player, Johanna Konta, joined forces with the online retailer to demonstrate the scrunch test [] – to work out what can and can’t be recycled with the new scheme.

An overflowing bin on December 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Johanna said: “I care enormously about the environment and always try my hardest to make positive contributions to it – whether that’s at home or being vocal about plastic use within my sport.

“But even I struggle to know what I can and can’t recycle at home.”

Produced in association with SWNS.

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