Reconomy's Group Head of Sustainability, Diane Crowe urges caution over Boris Johnson’s statement to a group of school children that recycling plastic ‘doesn’t work’, when taken out of context.

Headlines like this can be unhelpful and damaging at this very crucial time ahead of COP26. A huge amount of effort has gone into educating the UK public on the benefits of recycling and encouraging them to do so. This is reflected in us now successfully recycling around 44% of the plastic packaging produced in the UK.

Headlines like this can quickly undo all that hard work. It also sends out a terrible message to those wanting to build UK recycling infrastructure or invest in it.

While we all recognise the broader point that we must reduce our reliance on single use plastics, recycling is important in the development of the circular economy, and the sustainable design of many products. Recycled plastic also helps reduce other forms of waste when used appropriately in the packaging of perishable products such as food.

Plastic is an incredibly versatile material with unique and diverse properties that make it the best choice for a variety of applications.

Plastics only become a problem when we fail to recycle them. If we recycle them, they present a reusable, resilient and hygienic solution to many challenges across multiple sectors. To suggest that recycling plastic ‘doesn’t work’ is incorrect and misleading when the reality is that we need to recycle more of the plastic we use.