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Charity, and leading plastics recycling organisation, RECOUP, have secured a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to co-fund an industry led communications and behaviour change research project in Kent.
RECOUP have brought together key industry partners, Kent Resource Partnership, Veolia, Viridor, Ocado, Ecosurety, British Plastics Federation, Plastics Europe and PPS Recovery Systems to deliver this groundbreaking piece of research aimed at understanding better the connection between communications and plastics recycling.

RECOUP’s Pledge2Recycle Plastics citizen facing brand will connect with the 673,00 households across Kent over a 12-month period, to gain citizen insights, deliver plastics recycling messages and evaluate the resulting tonnage and contamination data. The project is the first of its kind to both deliver and measure, (over an extended period) the impact recycling communications campaigns have on behaviour change.

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It is expected that the insights collected will provide evidence to support future plastics recycling engagement strategies.

Anne Hitch, Head of Citizen & Stakeholder Strategy at RECOUP and Pledge2Recycle Plastics project lead, commented, “this project represents a fantastic opportunity for the plastics industry opportunity to better understand better how we can reach 2025 recycling targets.

The aim of this project is to engage with Kent residents to understand if there is any confusion when it comes to plastics recycling and how we can encourage citizens to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics.

The citizens of Kent have an opportunity to help formulate future policy and provide the UK with a blueprint demonstrating the links between plastics recycling communications and behaviour change.”

The project will connect with over 1.5 million citizens in a ‘controlled structured’ way, RECOUP says.

The advice on plastics recycling has been pre-agreed with all Kent Councils, Veolia and Viridor to provide a consistent message with resources based on previous piloted Pledge2Recycle Plastics ‘Cutting the Confusion’ campaigns and resource pack aligned with WRAP and Recycle Now.

The project will provide understanding on how plastics recycling targets can be met with clear and the linkages between communications investment and recycling growth.

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Cllr Nick Kenton, Chairman of the Kent Resource Partnership said: “The 13 Kent councils are very pleased to be working alongside RECOUP and other partners to deliver this Kent-wide plastics recycling campaign.

“The aim of this project is to engage with Kent residents to understand if there is any confusion when it comes to plastics recycling and how we can encourage citizens to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. We look forward to seeing which interventions help with the quality and quantity of plastic recycling here in Kent.”

Viridor’s Sustainability Director, Tim Rotheray, said: “Viridor knows that most people are committed to doing the right thing and recycling more. As a company which recycles and reprocesses plastic, Viridor is pleased to be part of an initiative that seeks to engage with residents and understand any confusion or barriers which exist.

“Following up on this research is the key ensuring residents are armed with the knowledge and the confidence they need. Above all, we want them to understand that their efforts to separate and retain valuable recycling really does make a difference, underpinning the circular economy which is the UK ambition.”

Source: Circular

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