• Resource

  • Delivering change via collaborative action plans
  • Delivering change via citizen campaigns
  • Delivering change via innovation and investment
  • Delivering change via evidence and expertise
  • Looking ahead

Turning the tide on plastic waste

“Creating a circular economy for plastics amounts to a huge opportunity for the economy as well as providing a longer-term benefit for the environment. Achieving it will require close collaboration and significant commitment from industry, government, and society at large. We are delighted to work with WRAP to help unleash such collaboration here in the UK, as a first national implementation initiative of our global New Plastics Economy initiative.”
Dame Ellen MacArthur
In January 2018, we announced a new ambitious initiative, The UK Plastics Pact, which will help turn the tide on the growing issue of plastic waste. The initiative will re-define what is possible and create a system where plastic is valued and doesn't pollute the environment. This is the first in a series of national implementations of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, and was trailed in Defra’s 25-year Environment plan.

Collecting more food waste

In November, the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan (FWRAP) published its first annual report. Highlights included a Cost Benefit Analysis Tool and new industry guidance to support AD (anaerobic digestion) operators. The Action Plan was downloaded over 1,000 times.

Greater consistency in household recycling

"Working with WRAP on a pilot for testing the business case for consistency at a local level has been highly effective for the Staffordshire Waste Partnership, particularly in how to look at shaping our collective services moving forward. The in-depth work undertaken has provided us with invaluable information upon which we can make properly informed decisions to improve the efficiency of our services and raise levels of recycling."
Andrew Bird, Head of Recycling and Fleet Services at Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council
As part of the Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling in England’s Five-point Action Plan, seven groups of local authorities piloted the local business case for adopting common service profiles. The outputs helped inform an ongoing programme of support for local authorities considering changes to their service provision.

#RecycleWeek trends at #1 on Twitter

Kicking off on 25 September 2017, Recycle Week brought to life some of the amazing transformations that different materials can take when they are recycled. Each day focused on a different material. Our animations were viewed over 700,000 times. This year’s sponsors included The Co-op, Currys PC World, John Lewis, the Ocado Foundation and Wilko. Each offered prizes for competitions that ran throughout the week.

New hard-hitting plastics campaign from Recycle Now

In the wake of the BBC’s screening of Blue Planet 2, Recycle Now unveiled a series of hard-hitting digital images and messages. ‘Plastic Planet’ encouraged consumers to recycle more and prevent plastic waste from damaging the environment. The campaign reached around 10 million people on social media. To date, our partners have downloaded the assets over 1,300 times. The RSPB supported the campaign.

Two million householders use Recycling Locator

Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator helps householders know if, how or where they can recycle an item. The Recycling Locator was used by 2 million users this year, and has been embedded under license into 78 partners’ websites.

Over 500 Schools Enter Home Recycling Challenge

Nearly 16,000 children completed worksheets with their parents to encourage recycling at home. The winning school, Polesden Lacey Infant School, received a surprise visit from Children’s TV presenter, Maddie Moate, who fronted the campaign. The school received a prize of £1,000. 45% of households said they started to recycle more as a result of taking part.

One bin is rubbish. Sort it out.

A new Recycle for London campaign focused on in-home storage. The ‘One bin is rubbish – sort it out’ campaign encouraged Londoners to sort out a second bin or equivalent to put their recycling in. A partner toolkit was available along with grant funding for priority boroughs. 32% of Londoners recall the campaign and its key message. More than half got a second recycling bin and/or changed how they recycle.

Bathroom recycling made easy

March 2018 saw the launch of a Recycle Now campaign to make recycling from the bathroom the norm. It highlighted bathroom items that can be recycled as well as suggesting easy ways to store recycling in the bathroom. The campaign reached 1.6 million people. Dunelm supported the campaign and donated a prize for a competition.

Innovation fund to tackle litter waste

In August, UK Environment Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey announced the creation of a new Litter Innovation Fund. The Fund, administered by WRAP, of £450,000 is designed to support community projects to tackle littering. Over 200 expressions of interest were received, and 14 organisations were awarded grants.

Realising economic and environmental benefits from renewable energy

WRAP has been delivering the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) since 2013. To date, over 133 Grants have been awarded with a total value of over £2 million. A conservative estimate is that installed projects are generating electricity or heat to support the equivalent of nearly 16,000 households per year.

Tackling China waste import restrictions

In July 2017, China notified the World Trade Organization that it intended to forbid the import of 24 kinds of solid wastes by the end of 2017. We held roundtables to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities resulting from the new restrictions. Having drawn up actions and reported back to UK governments, we are continuing to monitor the impact of the ban closely.

Reforming producer responsibility for packaging

Secretary of State Michael Gove invited WRAP to lead an industry consultation on reforms to the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system and agree a set of recommendations to be put forward. We did this through a series of facilitated cross-sector discussions in February and March 2018, consulting with close to 200 organisations.

Informing circular economy policy

"The overall CEP project has been instrumental in significantly developing our evidence base on the achievability of 2030 municipal recycling targets, cost implications to relevant sectors, and it formed a basis for the assessment of key environmental impacts. We very much appreciate the amount of work that WRAP developed over the lifespan of this project and highly commend their level of sectoral expertise."
Ladislav Tvaruzek, Economic Advisor - Resources and Waste Evidence, Defra
We completed detailed analysis of how recycling would need to develop to meet the proposed targets in the EU Circular Economy Package (CEP). It is not yet confirmed whether this will be part of Defra’s forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy.

Looking ahead

Our priority continues to be increasing the household recycling rate in England. We will increase food waste and plastics collections by improving recycling service provision and communicating effectively with householders. We will also provide economic and technical support to Defra Policy as part of their new Resources and Waste Strategy.

We will launch The UK Plastics Pact to create a sustainable plastics packaging system for the UK. We will provide technical and design support to reduce non-recyclable packaging and deliver innovation projects that address hard-to-recycle plastics.

Recycle Now Week is 24-30 September 2018.