A national government-backed campaign which aims to increase the collection of plastic packaging was officially launched today (September 8).
Pledge 4 Plastics is led by plastics recycling body Recoup and is supported by a cross industry partnership including local authorities, retailers, brands and recycling companies.
Campaign partners include Coca Cola Enterprises, Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Nestle Waters, Nestle UK, RPC, Veolia, Closed Loop Recycling, Valpak, Kent Resource Partnership, Surrey county council, PlasticsEurope, WRAP and Defra.
Designed in response to challenging packaging recycling targets set by the government for 2013-17, during which recycling levels for plastics need to double, the campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the need to recycle more plastic packaging and improve consumer understanding of what plastics can be recycled through existing local authority kerbside collection services.
The launch of the campaign comes after figures emerged last week showing that the progress towards plastic packaging targets may be greater than had previously been assumed, as the targets had been based on data from 2006 (see letsrecycle.com story).
The campaign is urging people to make a pledge to recycle just one extra plastic bottle per household each week. It stresses that this does not just include drinks bottles, but all types of plastic bottles from every room in the home which are often not recycled. With the current household plastic bottle recycling rate of only 58%, Recoup claims there is “vast” potential for increased collections.
One thousand phone covers made from 80% recycled plastic bottles have been designed exclusively for Pledge 4 Plastics, to reward those who register their support online throughout September at pledge4plastics.co.uk, tweet @pledge4plastics, or like the Facebook page (pledge4plastics) and share the posts.
A toolkit has also been developed to provide a wide range of resources which can be used by all organisations with the aim to ensure consistency in any UK communications about plastic packaging recycling.
As well as background information on the aims and objectives of the campaign, the toolkit includes consumer insight research; key messages; useful facts and figures; frequently asked questions; written content for magazines, newsletters, websites and leaflets; plus template artwork for a range of materials such as A4 and six sheet posters, public transport ads, banners, online ads, leaflet and press ads. The toolkit can be downloaded here.
Offering support for the campaign, Resources management minister Dan Rogerson said: “The UK has made tremendous progress on recycling over the last 10 years, building a stronger circular economy and greener society, and this reflects a lot of hard work from industry and local authorities, alongside a desire from residents to do more. This is another great initiative to boost the recycling of plastic packaging which has our full and ongoing support – I’ve already made my pledge and encourage others to sign-up to do their bit.”
Stuart Foster, Recoup chief executive, said: “The Pledge 4 Plastics campaign aims to encourage people to think and act differently and rewards them for doing so. We want to highlight how great things can come from recycling unwanted plastic. The fantastic phone cover that Abigail Ahern has designed for the campaign is made with recycled plastic and provides just one example of what can become of recycled bottles.”
WRAP have recognised the importance of Pledge 4 Plastics, and have made funds available to local authorities for communications delivery.
Councillor Paul Barrington-King, chairman of the Kent Resource Partnership said: ‘This important Pledge4Plastics campaign sees the KRP join forces with the private sector in the effort to meet the nation’s plastics packaging recycling targets. Achieving 1.2million tonnes of recycled plastics by 2017 is a mighty challenge. The good news is the UK is already 60% there, and the KRP and many others are keen to help achieve the rest.’