Waste and recycling news 2022 round-up

As the year draws to a close and we prepare for the festive season, it’s time to take a look at the most significant waste and recycling news of 2022.

From shocking studies to groundbreaking technologies and promising headlines, 2022 was no quiet year in waste management news.

Browse our pick of the most intriguing stories on waste and recycling from the past year.

Only one in five shoppers recycle skincare products

High-street retailer, The Body Shop, surveyed over 2,000 skincare users in the UK, discovering that only one in five recycled their empty packaging.

Furthering the recycling product news, the survey also found that around 74% of people didn’t finish a product before recycling it.

Fishing nets finally being recycled

Fishing nets are usually challenging to reuse or recycle, with many fishermen either dumping them at sea or sending them to landfill.

However, in some positive recycling news, a new scheme by Keep Britain Tidy is reusing the items for the first time here in the UK.

The charity teamed up with plastic processing experts to develop the large-scale recycling of UK fishing nets. This new partnership could prevent over 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets from becoming plastic waste.

National Cup Recycling Scheme recorded largest delivery of recycled cups

Some fantastic news arrived from the waste management industry in October when the National Cup Recycling Scheme recorded its largest delivery of cups for recycling since records began.

Four waste companies (Forge Recycling included) delivered cups to James Cropper PLC, bringing the total cups recycled since 2018 to over 176 million.

5.3 billion phones thrown away in 2022

Top view to old computers, digital tablets, mobile phones, many used electronic gadgets devices, broken household and appliances.

This waste news, predicting 5.3 billion phones will have been thrown away by the end of 2022, was nothing short of devastating.

Although 2022 hasn’t yet ended, the International Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) forum highlighted growing concern over electronic waste with its latest findings.

The WEEE also warned our electrical and electronic waste ‘mountain’ will grow to 74 million tonnes annually by 2030.

Prototype tests and sorts used battery cells for reuse

A fresh lease of life could be given to battery products, as a prototype that tests and sorts used battery cells was developed in September 2022.

The UK-made system identifies cells with 70% or higher state of health, which can be repurposed for later use.

This story is a particularly inspiring recycling news article, especially as lithium shortages are being forecast as soon as 2035.

Nestlé announces packaging changes

In major plastic recycling news, confectionery giant Nestlé announced packaging changes for its Quality Street and KitKat products.

Plastic twist-wrapped Quality Street sweets will be replaced with paper, while KitKat wrappers will contain 80% recycled plastic.

The innovations will remove over two billion packing material pieces from the company’s supply chain. The updates to KitKat mean the product now contains the highest proportion of recycled food-grade plastic of all UK & Ireland confectionery brands.

Average household has 200 parcels delivered annually

Earlier this year, a survey revealed the average British household has roughly 200 cardboard boxes delivered annually.

Beyond the Box surveyed 2,000 adults, discovering each home receives one large, one medium, and two small boxes weekly.

This waste and recycling news came with a plea that consumers continue to reuse or recycle their cardboard boxes to help keep rubbish out of landfill.

First recycled plastic bridge in Yorkshire Dales

In plastic recycling news closer to our hearts, the county’s first recycled plastic bridge was erected earlier this year in the Yorkshire Dales.

According to the North Yorkshire County Council, the bridge will last much longer than timber alternatives and require minimal maintenance thanks to the robust materials.

Carlsberg tests fibre beer bottles

Beer giant Carlsberg announced its plans to trial recyclable fibre beer bottles this year.

The drinks company said 8,000 bottles would be tested by European markets, claiming the wood-based fibre shell and PEF polymer lining retained the same fizziness as glass alternatives.

The recycling product news follows Carlsberg’s efforts to be more eco-friendly after it switched to using sustainability-sourced barley malt.

The Big Plastic Count results

The four different container for sorting plastic, paper, metal and glass waste

A huge annual event in the waste and recycling industry, The Big Plastic Count took place again in May this year.

The event encourages households across the country to monitor their plastic usage and count how much they throw away.

In 2022, results showed that:

  • Participating households threw away around 66 plastic pieces weekly.
  • UK is estimated to throw out 100 billion plastic pieces each year.

Over 100,000 UK households participated, making the findings even more eye-opening.

Recycling AI system wins award

The UK inventors of a recycling AI system, the Recycleye, won top place in the European Patent Office’s inaugural Young Inventors 2022 prize for innovators aged 30 and under.

The inventing duo received 20,000 Euros each for their creation, which has plans to be bought into operation at four recycling facilities in the UK and Europe.

Heinz reveals sustainable ketchup bottles

You might soon be squeezing your ketchup from a paper bottle, as Heinz revealed sustainable packaging plans.

In a waste and recycling news article from earlier this year, the food company unveiled its hope for a “completely renewable and recyclable bottle made from 100% sustainably sourced wood pulp”. The aim is for the bottle to be released by 2025.

While their plastic squeeze bottles are currently made using 30% recycled plastic, this dramatic switch could eliminate even more waste from landfill.


And there you have it — our pick of the most significant, exciting, and inspiring waste news stories from 2022.

Here’s to an eventful 2023!

Published by

Mariah Hughes

Mariah combines her passions for writing and the environment as an editor of the Forge Waste & Recycling blog.