It posed questions such as should a recycling logo be applied on packs when it is commonly know n that some items (such as coffee cups) do not get recycled due to cost and because collecting, sorting and cleaning uses more resources than would be reclaimed.
“Most people do not realise that recycling carries its own environmental burden. It takes energy, water, cleaning chemicals, transport and money to collect, sort and clean waste,” said an INCPEN statement.
Technically, all packaging can be recycled but the environmental and economic costs may not be worth the effort. Previous experience of cup recycling shows that it is highly resource-intensive and over 30% of the weight of cups sent for recycling is contamination.
The body insisted that lifestyle changes around recycling, more awareness and an understanduing of the costs and resources required is crucial to improve recycling.
“INCPEN has campaigned for recycling for many years and there is still a lot of potential for more people to sort out and recycle more bottles, cans, newspapers and other items that are regularly collected and can easily be recycled. We should focus on those and leave small dirty items to be treated with residual waste where at least 20% will be used to generate energy which will reduce the UK’s reliance on imported energy,” added teh statement.
Jane Bickerstaffe, INCPEN director, said: “Whether a cup is recycled or not, let’s enjoy drinks on-the-go and put the empty cups in a bin – and be grateful that packaging enables us to live the lifestyle we want”.
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