Archive for the ‘News’ Category

RECOUP and PECT Announce the Launch of the PECT Bring it Back Toolkit to Tackle Single-Use Packaging Waste

Posted: 26/10/2023

RECOUP and PECT Announce the Launch of the PECT Bring it Back Toolkit to Tackle Single-Use Packaging Waste

In a positive step towards a more sustainable future, PECT, an environment charity based in Peterborough, and RECOUP are excited to introduce the PECT Bring it Back Toolkit. The new toolkit is designed for businesses and communities to help address the growing problem of single-use packaging.

Single-use packaging is known for its convenience; however, every year, billions of these cups and other packaging items end up polluting our green spaces, rivers, and seas. Recognising the urgency of this issue, the toolkit encourages and helps set up returnable packaging schemes, tackling the pollution at its source.

Whether you run a local coffee shop, organise community events, manage the office canteen, or just care about the environment, this toolkit equips you with practical knowledge and tools to make a real impact.

Key features of the PECT Bring it Back Toolkit include:

  • Clear, easy-to-follow instructions for setting up and managing a reusable packaging scheme.
  • Tips to effectively communicating your new scheme/s to your audience.
  • The business case for understanding how your efforts can reduce waste and save money.
  • Case studies showcasing the benefits of reusable packaging schemes, from waste reduction to customer loyalty.


The toolkit was developed following a range of behaviour change pilots which tested the barriers and enablers to successfully launching a reusable packaging scheme in different locations (including schools, community hubs, offices, and café networks).

“We are excited to launch our PECT Bring it Back toolkit, based on the successful learnings of our pilot schemes, which have been run at various locations across the region for the last year,” says Stuart Dawks, CEO at PECT, “It’s a fantastic starting point for any organisation looking to start a reusable packaging scheme.”

This initiative is one of six projects around the UK funded by Hubbub and Starbucks’ Bring It Back Fund, which was set up to fund innovative solutions and systems for sustainable packaging in the food and drink industry.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-founder of Hubbub: “Hubbub set up the Bring It Back Fund with Starbucks to support innovation in reuse. We are pleased the learnings PECT has acquired through their trials are now going to benefit other organisations and businesses. We hope many will be inspired to set up their own reuse schemes to tackle single-use packaging”.

Ready to make a difference? We invite communities and businesses across the UK to join us in reducing waste. Download the PECT Bring it Back Toolkit on our project website and be part of the solution.

RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference – Another Successful Year!

Posted: 16/10/2023

RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference – Another Successful Year!

Plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, again proves its position as the number one conference in the sector with another outstanding day of debate and presentations focused on the theme of sustainability and rising importance of the circular economy.


Sponsored by, Berry bpi, Tomra, Schoeller Allibert Services, Plastics Europe, Beyondly, BPF, IOM3 and Circular&co. The event was held at KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough for the 10th year running with around 400 people from across various educational institutions, waste and recycling companies, packaging producers, environmental consultants, and government bodies in attendance. This year RECOUP tried to avoid single use plastic where possible, putting Circular & Co’s returnable cup scheme in place as a much more ecofriendly solution to single use cups. The system was very well received on the day, with lots of positive comments being made.


Tom Heap, of ‘Costing the Earth’ and BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ directed the days debates, igniting dialogues about the right material, right place, and the right approach in plastics recycling, as well as exploring innovations in the industry.


The panel debated how the whole value chain should work together to make the process more efficient with Dr Geoff Mackay, UK Country Head, Plastics Europe, raising the point that “we only have one world. We need to think about the materials we use and how we use them”. Yet the abundance of constantly changing legislation, company strategy, environmental impact, and consumer views that we all have to navigate makes this task a lot more complicated than it perhaps needs to be. As commented by Tim Duret, Director of Sustainable Technology, Veolia, “There has been so much time spent on the how, and we still don’t have the what”.


Items such as vapes and coffee pods were discussed by the panel as an example for such an issue, with the general consensus being that we should all work together to ensure that before products are placed on the market, a stream is in place for consumers to correctly recycle those products when they come to the end of their life.


The panel also debated how environmentally educated we are, referring to how conscious we are when buying goods. We can see that the public is undoubtedly much more conscious of environmental issues and in favour of change. However, Robert Thompson, Packaging Manager, The Co-op, commented that “a family with little money and 5 kids to feed are less likely to be environmentally conscious”, reiterating the need to make reuse, recovery and recycling easy and accessible.


For another year running attention then turned to the lack of consistency in kerbside plastics collections and communications as well as UK recycling capacity, calling for a more simple process that the public and the whole value chain will be engaged with and participate in. Ultimately, the use of plastics needs to be done in the right way, with appropriate end of life solutions in place before a product is available on the market.


For more information about RECOUP, the work they do and how to join please contact Next years’ conference is on Thursday 26th September 2024.

Upcoming Autumn Webinars

Posted: 04/10/2023

Upcoming Autumn Webinars

Join our upcoming webinars:


RECOUP 2023 UK Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey

06 December 2023 at 10:00am.

Bring It Back Making -Reusables a Reality

13 December 2023 at 10:00am


RECOUP Announces 2023 Awards Winners

Posted: 03/10/2023

RECOUP Announces 2023 Awards Winners

Following the success of the inaugural RECOUP awards in 2022, the awards returned bigger and better this year as part of the Pre-Conference Networking Dinner the evening before the highly anticipated RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference. Yet again the awards generated a lot of interest from across the plastics resources and recycling value chain with strong entries received for all categories.

Presented by Tom Heap, and RECOUP Chairman, Jim Armstrong, the first winner announced was for the ‘Best Development or Innovation to enhance plastic products for recyclability or re-use‘ award which was presented to Apetito & Wiltshire Farm Foods Ltd for their ‘boomerang’ initiative. Apetito have created a sustainable closed-loop recycling system for ready meal trays. Working with Wiltshire Farm Foods, plastic trays are collected from customers each week, leaving them with nothing but the film lid. 100% of the trays collected will then be made into brand new trays, all here in the UK.

The winner of the second award for ‘Recycled Plastic Product of the Year’ was presented to SEAQUAL INITIATIVE for their high quality 100% post-consumer recycled polyester yarn, SEAQUAL® YARN. Useful for a multitude of applications SEAQUAL® YARN is a sustainable fabric containing approximately 10% SEAQUAL® MARINE PLASTIC (from plastic marine litter), with the remaining 90% being post-consumer PET from land sources.

The third winner announced was for the ‘Best Innovation in Equipment or Technology to Improve the Collection, Sorting, Reprocessing or Re-use of Plastics’ award which was presented to Greyparrot for their AI Waste Recognition System. Greyparrots’ AI Waste Recognition System uses cutting edge AI-based Computer Vision to automate waste composition analysis at scale, providing insights that inform our decision-making on how to optimise our processes helping to increase recycling rates, reduce the cost of manual sampling, enhance product quality, and empower next generation smart systems.

The Chairman’s award, presented by Tom Heap and RECOUP Chairman, Jim Armstrong, was awarded to recognise individuals outside of RECOUP and the Board who have enabled the organisation to fulfil its aims of driving forward plastics recycling and resource management through dedicating their time, knowledge and support. This year two individuals were chosen to be recognised by this award.

The first Chairman’s award was presented to Hannah Clifford, Strategic Development Manager, Biffa. Anne Hitch, Business and Project Development Lead, RECOUP, commented “Hannah was nominated for the award as throughout the last year she aided RECOUP in the drive to move up plastics recycling, aiding the team to bring partners together on a range of projects from citizen communications in the region to MRF trials as well as facilitating team visits. Nothing has been too much trouble.”

Nominated by the Packaging team at RECOUP, the second Chairman’s award went to Jonathan Attwood, Head of Technical, Bright Green. The Packaging team commented “For the past year, Jonathan has provided the RECOUP packaging team with invaluable support. His knowledge and advice have been a great help to the team particularly with some of the more challenging questions. Jonathan is always willing to help no matter how big or small or the request. From site visits and regular communications, the guidance he provides has helped the team expand their knowledge and respond to members. We thank Jonathan for his support and expertise and hope to continue working with him.”


Congratulations to the award winners and thank you to the judges and all the entries for this year’s awards. Don’t miss out on submitting an entry next year, the application process will be announced in due course.

County Durham Recycles Plastics Success

Posted: 13/09/2023

County Durham Recycles Plastics Success

RECOUP’s Pledge2Recycle Plastics has joined forces with Durham County Council to launch a County wide plastics recycling communications and education project. This initiative aims to encourage more County Durham residents to embrace recycling and elevate the quality of plastics packaging recycled in the region through household collections.

Videos have been developed to demonstrate the journey of plastics packaging and its recycling processes within the region.  By educating residents on the recycling process, the initiative seeks to enhance awareness about the significance of recycling instructions and the positive impact individuals can have on the environment through sustained recycling behaviours.

The team have been attending a variety of events throughout the summer including engagements with local leaders, schools, as well as high profile community events.   Anne Hitch, Business and Project Development Lead commented “Research has cited that citizens lack of knowledge and understanding of the recycling process can form a barrier to positive recycling behaviours.   This project aims to provide information on what plastics are recycled and how on a regional level.  Citizen confusion is alleviated through communications with a focus on the recycling questions most frequently asked.”

A new website aligns with Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle waste hierarchy model, emphasising the importance of reducing waste generation, reusing materials where possible, and recycling plastics to promote a circular economy. Through their efforts, County Durham residents will be empowered to make informed choices that contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Recoup and Pledge2Recycle Plastic’s education project. Each year, the average household uses over 1,000 items – from plastics to cans – but less than half of this is recycled. It’s important we recycle as much as we can because, for every item recycled, we reduce the need to use raw materials, helping save energy and resources.

“We do a lot of work within the county to make our residents aware of what can be recycled through our ‘What Goes Where’ campaign. RECOUP’s project supports this work in helping to build people’s confidence so that recycling rates increase, and more materials are reused rather than thrown away.”

Biffa, the UK’s leading sustainable waste management company, supported this initiative by providing access to their recycling and recovery facilities and video content that demonstrate what happens to recycling after it is put out for collection by residents.

Hannah Clifford, Strategic Development Manager, Biffa Polymers commented “At Biffa we know that recycling can be confusing, and we are great supporters of innovative projects like this to promote understanding and increase plastic recycling. By sorting their waste into the correct recycling bins, residents can play a vital role in ensuring valuable materials are captured and processed for recycling.”

The project is supported by Durham County Council, The British Plastics Federation, Biffa, and Marmax Recycled Products.

RECOUP Announces Awards Shortlist

Posted: 07/09/2023

RECOUP Announces Awards Shortlist

RECOUP’s Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference Returns to KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough on Thursday 28 September 2023.

The Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference, a highly anticipated event in the industry, is gearing up for its return to the prestigious KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough. With a focus on fostering knowledge exchange and networking, this event is a must-attend for stakeholders across the sector.

Drawing a substantial audience of approximately 500 delegates annually, the conference serves as a dynamic platform that unites a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, ranging from NGOs to local and national governmental bodies. The gathering includes participation from organisations spanning the plastics and broader sustainability value chain, culminating in a productive environment for networking and sharing best practices.

A pivotal highlight of this year’s conference is the debut of the Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner. Scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, 27 September, at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough, this exclusive event welcomes all delegates. It promises a unique opportunity for attendees to establish connections, applaud industry accomplishments, and pave the way for collaborative efforts leading into the main conference.


**Announcing the shortlist for the RECOUP awards:**

Best Development or Innovation to Enhance Plastic Products for Recyclability or Re-Use

Apetito & Wiltshire Farm Foods Ltd  –  Boomerang!

Kraft Heinz  –  Mono material dispensing closure (Project Balaton)

Magnomer, Inc  –  Magmark SS Ink


Zotefoams Plc  –  ReZorce® Circular Packaging



Recycled Plastic Product of the Year

Nestlé  –  KitKat packaging

Schoeller Allibert Services  –  Magnum Optimum® 1210 CircuLine


Wastesmiths CIC  –  Bee Saviour Card



Best Innovation in Equipment or Technology to Improve the Collection, Sorting, Reprocessing or Re-use of Plastics

Fiberight Limited  –  HYDRACYCLE

Greyparrot  –  Greyparrot AI Waste Recognition System

Polytag  –  Unique-every-time QR codes

SortFlow Limited  –  SortFlow AI Mapper



To book your place at the Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner, please visit  – RECOUP Awards & Pre-Conference Networking Dinner 2023 – RECOUP Recycling


To book your place at the Conference, please visit – RECOUP Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference 2023 – RECOUP Recycling

Revolutionising Data Collection on Litter: RECOUPs Litter Composition and Pathways Project

Posted: 08/08/2023

Revolutionising Data Collection on Litter: RECOUPs Litter Composition and Pathways Project

Littering is a widespread issue that affects our environment daily. Shockingly, Keep Britain Tidy estimates that more than two million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK each day, leaving our streets and natural spaces untidy and uncared for. In response to the growing concern over litter pollution, the UK government, industry leaders, and stakeholders are calling for better data and evidence to inform policy decisions and drive effective solutions. This is where RECOUP, a charity and leading authority in the resources and waste sector, steps in with an exciting new initiative: The Litter Composition & Pathways Project (LCPP).

The Need for Improved Data on Litter

The demand for better data on litter has become crucial for making informed decisions and developing effective environmental policies. Proposed reforms aimed at reducing litter rely heavily on accurate and robust data sets. A comprehensive understanding of litter composition is essential to assess the impact of these reforms and determine the most effective strategies for curbing litter pollution. However, current litter projects often face limitations in data collection methods, leading to a lack of consistency and reliability. Many studies rely on citizen science, which, while valuable, may not always provide the most reliable data.

Introducing RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project

In response to the urgent need for better litter data, RECOUP has launched the Litter Composition & Pathways Project (LCPP). The project’s primary goal is to review, challenge, and provide robust evidence regarding the composition of litter. To achieve this, RECOUP aims to develop a standardised, evidence-based methodology for collecting and analysing litter, creating a comprehensive data set. Peer reviewing of the methodology will ensure the reliability and validity of the collected data.

AI Technology in Litter Analysis

Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology have seen investigations into its’ use to analyse the composition of litter and binned materials. As part of this project, RECOUP will be exploring the possibilities around AI technology and its’ potential to be a highly efficient, highly effective option for generating scalable data on litter in the future.

Progress and Next Steps

Although the LCPP is still in its’ early stages, RECOUP has already made significant strides. A draft methodology for litter collection and sorting has been developed and is ready for testing and peer reviewing. The initial phase of analysing litter through AI technology has also taken place. To further enhance the project’s capabilities, RECOUP is in the process of establishing a dedicated “Litter Lab” at their offices, where advanced litter analysis will be conducted.

RECOUP plans to collaborate with local litter-picking groups to collect litter for analysis. Once the methodology is finalised and the data is collected, it will be shared with the UK government, devolved administrations, and key stakeholders to inform and advise policy decisions. The evidence-based insights gained from this project will aid in the development of targeted interventions to combat litter pollution effectively.

A Vision for the Future

With RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project underway, the future looks promising for a more data-driven and effective approach to tackle litter pollution. By establishing a standardised methodology RECOUP is paving the way for informed policy decisions and comprehensive litter management strategies. The organisation’s dedication to protecting the environment and advancing the circular economy continues to make them a trailblazer in the resources and waste sector.

As the LCPP progresses, we can expect even greater insights into the composition of litter, opening the door for a cleaner and more sustainable future. Together, through collaborative efforts and evidence-based actions, we can truly make a difference and become responsible stewards of our planet. Stay tuned for updates on RECOUP’s Litter Composition & Pathways Project as they embark on this inspiring journey towards a litter-free world.

Participate in Litter Collection: RECOUP will be collaborating with local litter-picking groups to collect litter for analysis. If you would like to contribute to the development of a cleaner and greener future, please email us at

Stay Updated: Follow RECOUP’s website and social media channels for regular updates on the LCPP’s progress and findings.

Polytag and Biffa partner to help Ocado Retail, Co-op and Aldi gain unprecedented packaging lifecycle data

Posted: 29/06/2023

Polytag and Biffa partner to help Ocado Retail, Co-op and Aldi gain unprecedented packaging lifecycle data

As part of RECOUP’s ‘Bottle to Bottle’ project, Polytag, the recycling technology company, and Biffa, the sustainable waste management company, will enable three of the UK’s largest retailers, the UK’s largest dairy cooperative, Arla Foods, and Müller Milk & Ingredients to better understand when and where their packaging is being recycled. This will also arm Biffa with invaluable real-time data to revolutionise its recycling operations.


14 JUNE: Recycling tech pioneer, Polytag, and sustainable waste management company Biffa, have announced their collaboration with UK retailers Ocado Retail, Co-op, and Aldi to provide them with never-before-seen packaging lifecycle data. The businesses have joined forces as part of plastics, resource, efficiency and recycling charity RECOUP’s 26-week long ‘Bottle to Bottle’ project, in conjunction with label printer Interket UK, the UK’s largest dairy co-operative Arla Foods and Müller Milk & Ingredients.

The project will see Co-op’s water bottles and Aldi and Ocado’s milk marked with UV 2D tags, printed by Interket UK, with a Polytag UV tag reader retrofitted onto the plastic conveyor at Biffa’s Teesside MRF in the northeast of England.

Through monitoring analytics via the Polytag dashboard, the retailers will be able to access real-time data insights, such as where, when and how much packaging has been recycled to help optimise sustainability strategies.

Moreover, Polytag will enable Biffa to start to capture real-time data on packaging composition directly through their processing operations, informing recycling strategy, investment in sorting, recovery equipment, and the onward tracking of materials.

Alice Rackley, CEO of Polytag, commented: “Polytag is a practical solution delivering actionable insights to solve recycling challenges. We’re pleased to be working with RECOUP to form part of its innovative project to address recycling rates in northeast England. Growing numbers of stakeholders are becoming aware of the necessity of data to incite meaningful change when it comes to recycling, and we know the power this never-before-seen data can have for brands and retailers committed to delivering their sustainability goals”.

Anne Hitch, Business and Project Development Lead, for RECOUP, added: “RECOUP have long called for transparent, robust, and granular data on packaging recycling to give a complete picture of behaviours and help inform policy and infrastructure developments.”

Carla Brian, Senior Commercial Development Manager for Biffa also added: “Biffa is a pioneer in closed-loop plastic recycling, and we’re committed to exploring new technologies to further optimise resource recovery. We are delighted to be working with RECOUP and Polytag to gather new insights and data about plastic packaging, which will inform strategic decision-making and shape response to recycling policy in the UK.”

David Acott, Operations Director (UK) for Interket UK, continued: “Following the success of the initial project with Polytag and Ocado Retail, in which our Ecoket range of materials was used to print over 5 million labels onto the retailers’ packaging, we are proud to be involved again on a project with similarly exciting implications for the circular economy. By working with Polytag’s retrofitted technology, our labels open up hugely promising opportunities for brands and retailers. We are looking forward to seeing their impact.”


To learn more about Polytag’s UV tag reading technology, read the latest report on their website here:


To learn more about Biffa’s plastic recycling visit,

RECOUP launches new Refill Packaging Case Studies on World Refill Day

Posted: 15/06/2023

RECOUP launches new Refill Packaging Case Studies on World Refill Day

To celebrate and support World Refill Day on 16 June, plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, has launched a new case study looking at the growing trend of refill products and their associated packaging.

While bulk refill purchases have been utilised for commercial needs and cost efficiency measures for many years, growing concern about the environmental impact of packaging makes refills an attractive option for everyday household shopping. Refillable packaging allows consumers to continue to use the original product packaging by offering a refill solution, often distributed in an alternative packaging format with the aim to reduce environmental impact of both products and packaging. More and more brands and retailers are offering refill solutions to meet customer demand and achieve companies’ sustainability targets.

The RECOUP Refill Packaging Case Studies found that refills are widely offered in the household and personal care markets, especially for products such as soap, shampoo, and cleaning liquids, however refill solutions for food and drink products are currently scarcer on the UK market. It also details that numerous formats for the refill containers, such as pouches, bottles, tubes, sachets, jerry cans, and cartons, are available with all formats having their own benefits and potential disadvantages.

Materials used in packaging designed for reuse (both in terms of the refill packaging and the refillable packaging) and their suitability for reuse applications as well as recyclability are also investigated. The new study also considers the environmental message communicated to the consumer and whether this is clear and transparent around green claims and the refill and reuse system.

Richard Cham, Senior Packaging & Recyclability Projects Officer comments ‘‘Reuse is a step forward in reducing plastic waste, but it is important to remember that everything has a life expectancy and reusable packaging is no different.  At some stage, these packs will need to be disposed of and ensuring they are designed with end-of-life in mind is paramount.’

RECOUP concludes that while not always a circular solution, refills and refillable packaging play a vital role in normalising refill and increasing consumers involvement in reuse schemes.

The Refill Packaging Case Study is available to RECOUP members to download from its website here.

RECOUP Recyclability by Design, the essential guide for all those involved in the development and design of plastic packaging is available to all to download from the RECOUP website.

RECOUP Reusability by Design, the reusable plastic packaging design guidance for the value chain is also readily available to everyone to download from the RECOUP Website

Both RECOUP documents assist stakeholders with the design of recyclable and reusable plastic packaging that meets the needs of the value chain from packaging manufacturers, packer/fillers, brands, retailers, consumers, service providers through to waste management companies.

RECOUP Awards entry deadline only 4 weeks away!

Posted: 14/06/2023

RECOUP Awards entry deadline only 4 weeks away!

RECOUP Plastics Recycling Annual Awards 2023: Celebrating Excellence in Plastics Recycling and Resource Efficiency

With only 4 weeks left to enter the prestigious RECOUP Plastics Recycling Annual Awards 2023, plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity RECOUP is urging all organisations and individuals involved in the plastics recycling industry to submit their entries before the deadline on 14 July 2023. The awards are FREE to enter and celebrate excellence in plastics resource efficiency and recycling, and champion those leading a more circular plastics value chain.

There are 3 award categories and no limit on the number of entries:

  1. Best Development or Innovation to Enhance Plastic Products for Recyclability or Re-Use.
  2. Recycled Plastic Product of the Year.
  3. Best Innovation in Equipment or Technology to Improve the Collection, Sorting, Reprocessing or Re-use of Plastics.

The awards will be presented at the RECOUP Awards & Pre-conference Networking Dinner on Wednesday 27 September 2023, at the Holiday Inn, Peterborough West and will recognise and celebrate the innovative and inspiring projects and initiatives that have helped to drive the plastics recycling industry forward and lead to a more sustainable future.

Rebecca Davis, Membership & Events Manager at RECOUP comments:  “We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for organisations and individuals to showcase their achievements and be recognised for their contributions to the plastics recycling industry.  We have managed to secure an esteemed judging panel that will be announced on social media and are excited to receive entries for our new award categories before 14 July”.

To apply for the awards, please visit the RECOUP website and complete the online entry form.

The awards are followed by RECOUP’s not-to-be-missed event of the year, the Plastics Resource and Recycling Conference, which is held at Kingsgate Conference Centre, Peterborough on Thursday 28 September and attracts delegates from the entire plastics and wider sustainability value chain. Tickets can be booked via the RECOUP website.

Limited awards and conference sponsorship opportunities are also still available, please email for more information or if you require any assistance with the award entry.