RECOUP’s Response to PM’s Comments on Recycling

In response to prime minister Boris Johnson’s comments about recycling plastic, recycling charity RECOUP has joined the British Plastics Federation in issuing a statement.

On October 25, 2021, Boris Johnson said that recycling plastic materials “doesn’t work” and “is not the answer” to threats to global oceans and marine wildlife. Answering children’s questions in the lead-up to the COP26 climate change summit, he said reusing plastics “doesn’t begin to address the problem.” Instead, he said, “we’ve all got to cut down our use of plastic.”

RECOUP collaborates with its members from across the plastics recycling value chain to drive forward plastics recycling in the UK, ensuring that this valuable resource is used to support circular economy ambitions and a sustainable green economy. Working through its Pledge2Recycle Plastics brand, RECOUP also engages with communities to educate on plastics recycling and the importance of keeping the material in the system through UK kerbside recycling systems.

When the government itself is introducing a tax on packaging that doesn’t contain 30% recycled content, which is heavily reliant on the citizen doing the right thing and recycling, the comments by the prime minister will result in an even bigger challenge to collect sufficient plastics from households to recycle to fulfill demand. RECOUP says it is crucial we promote consumer confidence in the contribution of plastics recycling in reducing the environmental impact of packaging.

Much has already been achieved to improve recycling capture in the UK and the industry continues to invest in infrastructure and recycling capabilities in the UK,” says RECOUP CEO Stuart Foster. “Plastics have an important role to play in our everyday lives from food packaging to medical services and healthcare.”

“We are keen to work with the government and other organisations to find the right solutions,” Stuart adds. “Recycling is, and will continue to be, a part of the jigsaw as we seek to optimise resources and reduce carbon emissions to tackle climate change.”

RECOUP works with trade bodies, including Plastic Recyclers Europe, the British Plastics Federation and WRAP, to encourage brands, manufacturers, and retailers to design plastic packaging with an end-of-life solution through their work on Recyclability by Design.

Click here for details on RECOUP’s wider work, or visit

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