Millions of Brits cannot think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to what to recycle – with light bulbs, crisp packets and plastic packaging causing the most confusion.
A survey of 2,000 adults revealed one third don’t know what to do with empty crisp bags while one in four aren’t sure whether cardboard drinks cartons can be recycled.
Ten percent admit they are unclear whether glass can be recycled and are confused over what to do with their old cardboard boxes.
The study also found two thirds of us are worried about packaging and the types of materials used to wrap their favourite products.
The statistics emerged in a study by Beyond the Box, a team of experts from leading UK packaging companies, who want to change the nation’s attitudes towards packaging and recycling.
Spokesperson Andrew Barnetson said: “Being green and recycling as much as possible is becoming a bigger issue every day.
“Interest and concern about the UK’s packaging supply chain has never been higher.
”Packaging is a subject which has shot up everyone’s agendas and many are really trying to do what they can to try and make a difference.
“But there appears to be a great deal confusion as to what can and cannot be recycled.
”As a result, there could be a huge amount of recyclable items unknowingly being sent to landfill.”
The survey found 86 per cent of adults believe they are good at recycling, but more than half admit they sometimes think it would be easier just to throw something in the bin instead of working out if it can be reused.
A staggering 57 per cent have knowingly thrown something in the bin when it could have been recycled.
One in four of those said the item ended up in the bin because they didn’t know how to go about recycling it, while 29 per cent admitted it was too much effort to dispose of it properly.
The study, carried out via OnePoll.com, discovered more than a third blamed a lack of knowledge about what should and shouldn’t go to landfill.
One in four blame a lack of facilities near their home and one in twenty don’t bother to put in more effort as they don’t think it makes a difference.
Andrew Barnetson added: “There is a real opportunity for sustainable, renewable and recyclable materials like corrugated cardboard to play an even bigger role in providing the sustainable packaging solutions we all seek.
”With a recycling rate of over 80 per cent, corrugated cardboard has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material.
”To put things into perspective, this rate saves an area the size of Greater London from landfill every four months.
“It is clear that there is an opportunity for us all to work together to improve the UK’s recycling rates even further, be it through increasing the number of collections and providing greater capacity, or educating householders about which types of packaging can be recycled.”
Top items Brits are most confused about
2. Light bulbs
3. Crisp bags
5. Cardboard drinks cartons
6. Cooking oil
8. Car tyres