Why recycle? Because it’s worth it

As Recycle Week gears up for its launch next week (25 September), Peter Maddox, director at WRAP provides an insight into this year’s campaign on the value of recycling.

Recycle Week 2017 runs from 25 September

Many of us working in the waste and recycling industry know the economic and environmental value of recycling. For the rest of the UK public however, it does not appear to be as clear. That is despite the fact that items recycled from our homes and businesses can go on to have a new lease of life in new things bought and used by UK householders every single day.

In our recent consumer poll, many people did not believe their toothpaste box could come back as a sweet box. This certainly surprised me. What is encouraging though is that people do want to know more about what their recycling ends up as – so we just need to tell them!

That’s why, this Recycle Week, which kicks off on Monday (25 September) is about demonstrating that recycling really is worth it; with messages explaining how recycling directly impacts each of our lives. And I’m calling on everyone across the industry to get involved from local authorities, businesses and brands alike to help spread the word.

“People do want to know more about what their recycling ends up as – so we just need to tell them!”

Peter Maddox, director, WRAP

This year’s campaign ‘Recycling – it’s worth it’ is designed to encourage us all to recycle more of the right things from all around the home. Our research shows that in the UK, whilst almost 90% of people claim to regularly recycle from the kitchen, only 52% say they regularly recycle from the bathroom. Yet recycling just three empty deodorant cans can save enough energy to power a shower for eight minutes.  And those recycled aerosols could come back as parts for mobile phones, dishwashers or even as another aerosol can.

Food waste

It is these value and transformational messages we want to get across throughout this Recycle Week. And not just for dry recycling items, but food waste too. We know that understanding the importance of food waste recycling and what happens to recycled food once collected has increased, however awareness of it still lags behind dry recycling – so this will be a key area of focus next week.

The support of our partners is vital in spreading the message and extending the reach of the campaign.  I am delighted that sponsors The Co-op, Currys PC World, John Lewis, the Ocado Foundation and Wilko – are working with WRAP, supporting the campaign and each offering great prizes throughout the week. I am calling on everyone to join in and help us spread the ‘Recycling – it’s worth it’ message, by sharing our social media posts and using our resources to communicate with employees and customers – every one’s efforts will make the difference.


There is a wealth of online communication resources from customisable posters and leaflets, to fun new transformational videos and template social media content; just take a look.

Now in its 14th year, Recycle Week is well established but we strive to make each one better than the last – and given that last year we reached over 10 million people and saw #RecycleWeek trending on Twitter we’ve set the bar high!

So I hope you’ll join us… because recycling is worth it – let’s work together to make Recycle Week 2017 worth it too.

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