The beginner’s guide to Recycle Week


Despite increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable living, the UK’s domestic recycling rate is declining.

With recyclables not being recycled, more awareness needs to be raised, so we’re discussing the nation’s largest recycling behaviour change campaign — Recycle Week.

This event is the one week of the year where retailers, brands, trade associations, and waste management companies come together to promote the benefits of recycling to the general public.

Let’s explore Recycle Week, what you can expect from the event, and how to get involved.

When is Recycle Week?

Recycle Week 2023 will take place between 16-22 October. The dates change each year, with the 2022 event happening in September.

This year will be the 20th anniversary of Recycle Week, and the campaign continues to inspire children, families, and whole communities to get involved.

What is Recycle Week?

WRAP’s national recycling campaign for England and Northern Ireland is called Recycle Now, and Recycle Week is Recycle Now’s annual flagship event.

Throughout the week, schools, governments, organisations, and businesses will run initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and educate people on how to recycle correctly.

This annual event reminds individuals and communities to make recycling part of their daily lives. In doing so, we can all step toward a more sustainable future.

Public awareness campaigns

Public awareness campaigns will appear across various media platforms throughout the week, including TV, radio, social media, and printed materials.

The campaigns will inform the public about the benefits of recycling and share tips on doing it right.

Recycling events

Communities across the country will hold recycling-themed events. This includes collection drives for recyclables, educational workshops, and art exhibits made from waste.

Educational programmes in schools

Schools will incorporate recycling lessons into the curriculum during Recycle Week.

The aim is to teach students about recycling and inspire them to take responsibility for the environment by recycling at home and when out and about.

Community clean-ups

Clean-up events will occur across the UK to remove litter and promote a cleaner living environment.

These events will showcase how lovely the local area can look when it’s free of waste and encourage the community not to drop litter. It’s been proven that the presence of ‘beacon’ litter causes more litter.

Collaboration with businesses

Some businesses will participate in Recycle Week by promoting recycling practices within their organisations and encouraging customers to recycle.

A recycling summit

Recycle Week is hosting WRAP’s first Recycling Summit online from 17 to 19 October this year.

WRAP experts and other industry professionals will share their tools and knowledge to inspire organisations and prepare them for upcoming UK recycling reforms.

Alongside presentations, there will be panel discussions with representatives from big brands like Coca-Cola, Arla, and Tesco. Discussions will include the successes, challenges, and opportunities the brands have faced when engaging customers in recycling.

What is the theme of Recycle Week this year?

Recycle Week carries a theme every year, and 2023’s theme is The Big Recycling Hunt.

This focuses on “missed capture”, referring to items you can recycle but aren’t typically placed in the recycling bin at home.

There’s a two-pronged approach to this year’s event, with a big focus on:

  • schools
  • local authorities, partners, and brands.

The week aims to encourage children and young adults to recycle by participating in fun activities.

Local authorities, brands, and partners are involved to ensure the central message is shared far and wide.

How to get involved

After learning about Recycle Week, you may wonder how to get involved. There are plenty of ways to participate, as it’s all about reducing waste and recycling.

Although the UK has improved its recycling habits over time, 55% of households still put recyclables in the general waste bin. This includes everyday items like aluminium foil and shampoo bottles.

During Recycle Week, the most important thing you can do is ensure you are educated on what‘s recyclable and how to recycle it.

Use this dedicated week to:

  • Inform — Create a list on your fridge to inform other members of your household what can and can’t be recycled in your council bins.
  • Invest — Invest in some labelled recycling bins for your kitchen to make recycling as easy as possible for your family.
  • Visit — If needed, take waste and recycling to your local household recycling centre.
  • Be aware — Ensure you know how recycling works and how participating helps.
  • Share — Talk to your friends and family and spread the recycling message on social media using the hashtag #RecycleWeek.
  • Buy reusable — Avoid purchasing single-use items and instead aim for reusable products made from recycled materials.

Following good recycling practices doesn’t just mean disposing of household items in the correct bin for collection day.

It’s also advisable to reuse what you can before sending it for recycling. Reuse means repurposing or upcycling, extending an item’s life and delaying recycling.

If you’ve got a lot of waste to eliminate from your home or business, you should consider skip hire.

This robust and reliable waste disposal method ensures all recyclables are recycled on your behalf.