A study of the impact of Covid-19 on the plastic supply and recycling sectors was published last year by pressure group RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited).
Available here (PDF) one of the things it showed was that, during the first wave of Covid in the UK, manufacturers were both continuing to use recycled content and apparently using more virgin material. That was partly explained, says the report, by the price of virgin material falling as overall demand dropped and by demand for it in applications such as PPE and for packaging food and medicinal products.
The report also raised concerns about the quantities of plastics being collected through kerbside collection schemes and the knock-on impact on the availability of recycled plastics for use by manufacturers.
Despite calls for a green recovery, the report questions what such a thing might look like and how it might be translated into tangible actions based around sustainability.
RECOUP is also the driving force behind the Pledge2Recycle Plastics initiative, which aims to cut the confusion around plastics recycling and to achieve real behavioural change “through consistent and simple messages”.