RECOUP Conference 2022 - Summary

"We live in a world demanding better environmental protection, circularity and sustainability whilst wanting to hold on to consumerism, low cost, convenience, growth and economic prosperity.   RECOUP continue to deliver the organisation’s aims with balance, integrity and evidence. If you are thinking of supporting RECOUP, now is the time.”

Stuart Foster, CEO RECOUP. 

RECOUP welcomed Tom Heap, of ‘Costing the Earth’ and BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ back to moderate the morning sessions who commented that it was an interesting time both politically and legislatively. Heap referred to the importance of legislation in relation to plastics recycling and resources.  With Heap’s direction, plastic packaging tax, tray-to-tray recycling, investment in chemical recycling, feedstock quality and circular economy principles were debated.

All speakers repeated previous conference calls to increase and improve collaboration.  

Hayley Lloyd-House, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Nestlé Waters (UK) Ltd highlighted the positive joint work with RECOUP and drew attention to the ‘The 5 -pillar strategy’ aimed to Reduce, Re-use, & Refill, Redesign and Rethink behaviours.

The panel debated the lack of consistency in kerbside plastics collections and communications as well as UK recycling capacity. With mixed messaging and ‘wish’ recycling causing contamination and a call for the harmonisation of labelling.

Paula Chin, Senior Policy Advisor – Consumption at WWF set the scene in session two by stating that it was important that the sector use the “right material, in the right place and with the right approach.” Chin highlighted products such as disposable vapes and questioned why such products are placed on the market when there is clearly no end-of-life solution. Chin once again called on the delegates to appreciate that the only way forward was to reduce consumption.

Rowan Byrne, Marine Plastics Global Lead at Mott MacDonald commented on the issue of plastics in the natural environment particularly rivers and oceans, “to manage something you have to measure it” however, “the challenge with plastics in the environment is the issue gets bigger as plastics get smaller. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.” Byrne further highlighted that perhaps there should be a ban on wet wipes.

RECOUP launched a number of reports and projects at the event;


The afternoon panel was chaired by Sara Banning, Innovation Lead from Innovate UK – UKRI.

The panel called for the importance of data to be used for accountability, the need for clear government signals and policies for reuse and prevention targets, a mindset shift towards circular economy and the common theme of the day, collaboration.

RECOUP announced the winners of the inaugural Recycling Awards. Find out more about the winners here

 It is hoped that delegates found the Conference of use and interest.  If you have thoughts, ideas and comments about the Conference please complete the feedback form. 

Save the date: The 2023 RECOUP Plastics Resource & Recycling Conference will take place on Thursday 28 September. 

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