Britons are baffled by everyday recycling symbols has released research that over half of Britons are baffled by everyday recycling symbols, revealing that 61% of shoppers do not understand nine key symbols on packaging that appear on thousands of supermarket items.

Rogier Gerritsen, Recyling Managing Director, DS Smith, says, “While there is an undeniable desire from the public to help make our environment a better place, symbol confusion leads to the wrong packaging in the wrong bin. Early this year, research commissioned by DS Smith found that UK adults admit to throwing 30% of their recyclable material into general waste and a further 83% are not clear which types of packaging can and can’t be recycled. Beyond the immediate environmental impact, there’s an economic cost too: recyclable products going to landfill could cost the economy up to £95m each year. On the other end of the spectrum are ‘wish-cyclers’: the same DS Smith research found that 30% of Brits who, faced with uncertainty over whether their boxes, bottles and containers can be recycled, put them in the recycling bin and hope for the best – this of course has dire contamination repercussions.”

He concludes, “There is clearly a desperate need for consistency across the recycling infrastructure to make recycling easier for consumers. At DS Smith, we’ve created a series of packaging design principles that guide brands on how to design their products for recyclability. But design for recyclability is just part of the challenge. Consistent  recycling collection systems across the UK would remove the need for local interpretation of recycling rules, allowing for clear labelling and recycling advice no matter where in the country consumers live.”

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