Almost half (46%) of the UK public feels that too much multi-use plastic is recycled unnecessarily and believe that local councils (56%) and the government (46%) have a part to play in tackling this issue.
The study set out to uncover public awareness about plastic bread baskets and other delivery trays and containers to shine a light on what is an increasingly important environmental issue impacting the food industry and, more specifically, the bakery sector.
Much of this equipment is designed to last many years by using sturdy, reusable plastic as part of the ‘circular economy’ but more often than not, it is diverted out of the supply chain, either through theft, left abandoned or shredded for sale back to the plastics manufacturing industry by unscrupulous recycling operations.
More education is needed
While the survey found that 61% of respondents were sure that bread baskets and food delivery trays go back to the factories they came from, correctly processed and used again, the bakery equipment firm notes that more often than not this is not the case.
Only 3% of respondents are aware of ‘the dark side’ of plastic recycling, while 9% correctly assume this equipment can also often end up in landfill.
This is where the public steps in to help, says Bakers Basco, noting that if a large amount of abandoned plastic is found in their local area, the majority of respondents say they would take action and report it to their local council. However, 27% are still unsure of the steps to take.
When it comes to who should take responsibility for tackling unnecessary recycling – that is, the recycling of products designed to be used multiple times rather than being disposed of after a single use – respondents say producers themselves (58%), local councils (56%) and the government (46%) need to step up their efforts.