Each Brit disposes of 242 plastic bottles and 109 single-use coffee cups every year

29th April 2020 | Recycling

The average British consumer will get through 242 plastic bottles, 109 single-use coffee cups and 209 crisp packets each year. Research of 2,000 UK adults revealed the typical person’s annual rubbish waste also includes 378 snack wrappers, 251 cans, and 374 cardboard boxes or paper packets annually.

We will collectively throw away 468 million spray bottles from cleaning products and 520 million shampoo bottles every year. It also emerged 83 per cent are not clear which of these items can and can not be recycled. As a result, the average Brit admits to throwing an estimated 30 per cent of their recyclable items into general waste.

Plastic bottles

This is potentially costing the economy more than £95 million each year, as the recyclable materials, which could have been otherwise sold on to manufacturers and generate money for the economy, just end up in landfill or are incinerated. Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at DS Smith, which commissioned the research said, “There is an undeniable desire from the public to help with the climate crisis. But a lot of packaging is still not recyclable, and people are confused about what packaging goes into which bin.”

The study also found that when unsure about whether a package can be recycled, more than four in 10 (44 per cent) prefer to “play it safe” and put it in the general waste bin. As many as 56 per cent confessed to throwing things away with the general waste despite believing it could be recycled, with 32 per cent of these blaming unclear labelling.

Experts at DS Smith estimate this could be resulting in 2.6 million tonnes of recyclable materials going to landfill each year. At the other end of the spectrum are “wish-cyclers” – the 30 per cent of people who, fact with uncertainty over whether their boxes, bottles and containers can be recycled, put them in the recycling bin and hope for the best.

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