Is recycling just an excuse to carry on producing more plastic?


We’re all trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use. For the plastic we can’t avoid using, recycling is the most widely available solution. The good news is that 89% of the UK say that they regularly recycle in their households. By recycling we reduce the need for new plastic production, which helps the environment. Recycling plastics extends their useful lives by keeping them in use for longer.

recycled plastic bottles forming the word 'recycling'

Did you know?

Recycling one 500ml plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a lightbulb for an amazing nine hours. The energy saved comes from not extracting new materials to turn into plastic.

Some single-use plastics are problematic because they can’t be recycled at home, things like plastic cutlery, stirrers, cotton buds, plastic bags and plastic wrapping (on bottles, bread bags, toilet rolls etc.). Many of these items are now being phased out by The UK Plastics Pact, a coalition of manufacturers which represents 95% of the UK’s plastic production. Some retailers also have recycling points for plastic wrapping and bags in stores, so look out for that when you next go shopping.

Is recycled plastic any good?

You may have heard that recycling degrades the quality of plastic. This happens because the current process involves heating the plastic, which changes its properties. However, our recycling process is improving and new technologies are being developed to help combat this.

It’s not realistic to think that we can remove plastic packaging completely from our lives. But we can, and should, take steps to stop it polluting our environment.

To find out more about what to recycle where you live, visit