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2018 National Recycling Index

24th September 2018

The Viridor UK Recycling Index 2018 shows public concern over plastics use is at an all-time high, with four in five believing the UK should find a way to deal with its own recycling without having to export it to other countries. Click here to view the 2018 National Recycling Index in full detail.

Key observations from the 2018 Index include:

  • 75% of UK respondents, understand the term “Right Stuff Right Bin”
  • 78% of UK respondents see waste as a valuable resource
  • 83% say they would be encouraged to recycle more if they knew it would be used to create renewable energy
  • 61% are more likely to buy products with recycled packaging
  • In the next 50 years (by 2068), if the UK doesn’t do more to recycle:
    • 71% say ‘floating islands of rubbish are likely in the UK (+37 points on 2016)
    • 81% say ‘oceans full of plastic likely in the UK (+8pts on 2017)
  • 45% are willing to pay additional tax on non-recyclable plastics
  • 90% would consider refillable packaging (Awareness is up 12 points on 2017)
  • 78% want more transparency over what happens to their waste

Viridor, one the UK’s leading recycling and renewable energy companies, today launches the 2018 edition of its UK Recycling Index (‘the Index’), shedding more light on the UK’s growing public concern over plastic use.

The UK public wants Government policy which keeps plastic created in the UK to stay here, with recycled material used to manufacture new products. The poll shows that, with public awareness heightened by television programmes such as ‘Blue Planet’, public concern over plastics is at an all-time high with fears of UK ‘floating islands of rubbish’ in the next 50 years if more is not done to capture and recycle plastic.

Viridor’s research has found almost half (45%) are willing to pay additional tax on non-recyclable plastics and three in five (61%) are more likely to buy products with recycled packaging, demonstrating a public appetite for Government policy which supports efforts to reprocess more plastic in the UK.

Phil Piddington

Phil Piddington, Managing Director, Viridor, said: “Public concern over the environmental impact of plastics continues to gain momentum in the UK, in parallel to a broader awareness of the importance of recycling generally.

“The 2018 Index shows that not only are people increasingly confused over what and how they can recycle, they're also becoming less confident that businesses or government are playing their respective roles in ensuring resources are given new life."

“For our part, we are working closely with retailers and packaging manufacturers to make products, including plastics, more recyclable. Viridor also wants the UK to make it easier for the public to recycle more and to introduce policies that encourage additional investment in UK recycling.  There are currently hundreds of different approaches to waste collection in the UK. A more standardised approach across local authority boundaries would encourage more infrastructure in the right places and help boost economic growth. People really do want to do the right thing, but they need a clear and concise message from the Government and their local authorities to collectively improve recycling performance and reach national targets. These are all initiatives that we hope will be supported in the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy later this year.”

The Index findings coincide with the start of, which aims to encourage household recycling.

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