About Us

RECOUP, founded in 1990, is the UK’s leading independent authority and trusted voice on plastics resource efficiency and recycling.

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As a registered charity, our work is supported by a network of over 180 members who share our commitments including a more sustainable use of plastics, increased plastics recycling, improved environmental performance and meeting legislative requirements. We achieve these by leading, advising, challenging, educating and connecting the whole value chain to keep plastics in a circular system that protects the environment, underpinned by evidence and knowledge.

Our commitments

More sustainable use of plastics
Increased plastics recycling
Improved environmental performance
Meeting legislative requirements

What we do

As a not-for-profit and charitable organisation, we ensure all financial support received is used in the most effective ways possible to deliver core and project activities that:

  • Stimulate the development of plastics waste and resource management.
  • Undertake research and analysis to remove barriers to the development of efficient plastics recycling systems.
  • Provide expert technical support, training, and consultancy services.
  • Promote the use of recycled plastics in high-quality end products.
  • Provide strategic guidance, training, and consultancy.
  • Represent the interests of the plastics supply chain to National Government and key stakeholders.
  • Provide and deliver information and education resources to drive plastics recycling and resource management.


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What we do

RECOUP members

RECOUP members represent the whole plastics value chain and come from a diverse range of sectors including manufacturers of plastic packaging and products, retailers, brands, plastic recyclers and reprocessors, waste management organisations, local authorities and universities.

One of the unique benefits of RECOUP is its ability to link all parts of the value chain to share knowledge, expertise and collaborate to keep plastics in a circular system that protects the environment.

Any organisation that shares our commitments is encouraged to join our network of members. Find out more about our members and how to become a RECOUP member.


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RECOUP members
180 0 +
Members of RECOUP
30 0 +
Years of experience in plastics recycling and resource management
1990 0
Founded in

History of RECOUP

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RECOUP was launched!

In 1990, RECOUP was established as a charitable organisation by a dedicated group of individuals. Under the leadership of John Simmons, who assumed the role of Chief Executive. RECOUP was initially conceived as a three-year project to recycle plastic bottles.



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Mike Barney  became Chairman

In 1992, RECOUP welcomed Mike Barney who took on the role of Chairman. Highlighting his influential position within the organisation.


Mike was Head of Packaging Development for all personal products at Unilever for 30 years and the owner of  MBA Packaging, a consultancy majoring on the impact of all types of packaging materials on the environment.

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First ever RECOUP Household plastics collection survey

In 1994, RECOUP achieved a significant milestone producing its first survey on household plastics collection, showing a commitment to understanding and improving recycling practices. This groundbreaking initiative marked a crucial moment for RECOUP as it advanced sustainable recycling in the industry.

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David Bellamy became a patron of RECOUP for 17 years

In 1998, RECOUP gained a prominent advocate as David Bellamy became its patron for an impressive 17-year tenure. His association brought support and credibility, reinforcing RECOUP’s commitment to environmental causes. Throughout his patronage, David Bellamy championed RECOUP’s mission, creating awareness, and advocating for sustainable practices. His dedication made a lasting impact on RECOUP’s efforts and solidified its position as a leader in environmental sustainability.

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RECOUPs Mascots were launched

In 1999, RECOUP proudly introduced its captivating mascots, Pete and Milly. The launch of RECOUP’s mascots brought a distinctive and memorable symbol to represent its values and mission.


In 2014 we saw our Mascots take their final journey. Milly the milk bottle and Pete the PET bottle embarked on a transformative journey as they headed to the BPI recycling facility. The bottles underwent dismantling and were processed into plastic pellets, ready to be reborn as new and useful products.

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Recyclability By Design

In 2006, RECOUP introduced a new report “Recyclability By Design.” This innovative report aimed to promote and encourage the integration of recyclability principles into product design processes. By launching Recyclability By Design, RECOUP demonstrated its commitment to fostering sustainable practices throughout the supply chain and enhancing the recyclability of products.

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Stuart Foster became Chief Executive after working for RECOUP since 2001.

In 2011, Stuart Foster assumed the role of Chief Executive at RECOUP, following a decade of dedicated service within the organisation since 2001. Stuart’s experience and commitment to RECOUP’s mission made him the ideal candidate for this leadership position. With his knowledge and understanding of the recycling industry and sustainable practices, Stuart took on the responsibility of guiding RECOUP towards continued growth and success.

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First conference held at KingsGate

In 2012, RECOUP hosted its annual Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference at the KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough for the first time.


The annual conference now boasts a turnout of over 400 delegates each year and is the go to event in the industry!

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Launched Pledge4Plastics

In 2014, RECOUP launched Pledge4Plastics, a national initiative aimed at simplifying and clarifying plastics recycling communications. By addressing the confusion surrounding plastics recycling, this campaign encouraged individuals to actively contribute to waste reduction and boost recycling rates.


In 2018, RECOUP revamped its plastics recycling initiative, rebranding Pledge4Plastics as Pledge2Recycle Plastics. This relaunch reflected RECOUP’s commitment to raising awareness and encouraging active participation in recycling efforts.

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After 28 years as Chairman Mike Barney retires and Jim Armstrong takes over.

In 2021, we said a fond farewell to our esteemed Chairman, Mike Barney, who retired after an incredible 28-years. We then extended a warm welcome to Jim Armstrong, who stepped into the role of Chairman, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective.

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RECOUP Awards launched

In 2022, we proudly introduced our very own awards during the Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference. This event marked a significant step forward in recognizing and celebrating outstanding contributions to the plastics recycling and resource management industry.

RECOUP is Delivered by PPS Independent Consultants

PPS are leading consultants and project management experts in resource efficiency, circular economy and sustainability.

PPS are passionate about delivering and supporting successful and effective programmes and projects in the resources, circular economy and sustainability space. We have a knowledgeable and professional team covering a range of skills including programme management, project delivery and support, research, and a range of sector expertise areas including sustainability, resource efficiency, recycling, re-use, markets, materials and circular economy. Contact PPS today to explore our comprehensive, tailored solutions for achieving your resources, circular economy and sustainability objectives.

Find out more by visiting the PPS website.


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