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Research says Britain facing major test of national recycling infrastructure

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Leading packaging specialist DS Smith has created a larger-than-life recycling bin which demonstrates the scale of changes needed to the UK’s recycling infrastructure.
Leading packaging specialist DS Smith has created a larger-than-life recycling bin which demonstrates the scale of changes needed to the UK’s recycling infrastructure.

Britain is facing a recycling crisis in the UK with households simply running out of room in their bins and unable to recycle properly.

According to research, nearly half of households (49%) admit to completely running out of space in their recycling bins with a quarter saying this happens every two weeks or more.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg according to leading recycling and packaging company DS Smith, which says that the UK’s recycling infrastructure is not equipped to deal with the increased volume of home recycling, caused in part by Covid-19.

Online shopping was on the rise but has been rapidly accelerated by the pandemic, indeed 70% of Brits say they have shopped online more since the initial lockdown last March.

Of those Brits who had seen an increase in their recycling, nearly two thirds (64%) say it’s because they’re spending more time at home as offices and schools have been shut, with nearly half of respondents (48%) citing increased online shopping for their overflowing bins.

With online shopping firmly here to stay and home working looking set to continue to play a big role in our lives, figures point to a dramatic need to overhaul of our national recycling infrastructure.

"Even before the pandemic, we were making the switch to online shopping and working from home more, but restrictions due to Covid-19 have revolutionised these trends," said Rogier Gerritsen, managing director of Recycling at DS Smith.

"With many of these changes looking set to stay, including our new recycling habits, we need to ensure that our collections infrastructure enables us to recycle as much material as possible from our domestic streams.

"We applaud the Government for its ambitious recycling targets, but at the moment we’re not on track: based on current recycling trends our data suggests that we’ll only meet the 65% recycling target for municipal waste in 2048, over ten years too late."