While the vast majority of Brits claim to be committed to recycling for the sake of the planet, it turns out that more than half of us don't fully know what we're doing when it comes to separating our plastics.

In fact, the sad fact is that many of us will dutifully separate our plastics from our papers from our general waste - only for our recycling to go straight into landfill due to contamination from items which can't be recycled.

That's why Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox has teamed up with Co-op on it's mission to change the nation's recycling habits, by becoming an official recycling behaviour change board member.

A survey by the supermarket found that nearly a third of Brits believe they can recycle soft plastics, such as crisp packets and pet food sachets, at home, but oh how wrong they are. And, just to add fuel to the fire, a further 45 percent just throw in them the recycling bin while unsure whether they can be recycled or not.

The soft plastic recycling units will be in 2,300 Co-op stores by November (



In response, the supermarket has launched a nationwide campaign to better educate people on their recycling habits, as well as introducing soft plastic recycling centres in 2,300 Co-op stores up and down the UK by November.

"There's definitely moments when it's difficult to be green, but we all know from watching the news, that we can't just sit back and think it's somebody else's problem, we've all got to do our bit, because it's frankly terrifying," Sara told the Mirror.

"The worst thing is feeling powerless, but I feel we do have an amount of power and we do have a little bit of control over our own behaviours."

Many Brits wrongly assume they can recycle soft plastics at home (


Getty Images)

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In fact, the worst kind contamination is when the likes of soft plastics become mixed up with hard plastics, because councils don't have the manpower or the resources to separate the loads before they go in for recycling, meaning it can frequently end up in landfill.

While almost all soft plastics end up in landfill, people will now be able to take any of these items to Co-op stores to be recycled.

"If you scrunch it and it springs back to life a little, that can be recycled at your Co-op, so biscuit wrappers, crisp wrappers, pasta bags, yoghurt pot lids, little sachets of cat food," Sara explained. "I think it's a lot simpler than trying to read all your packaging, because it's very confusing with all the different councils and everything."

Sara decided to get involved with the campaign after realising she'd become a self-confessed recycling addict; a fact she only realised when the option was taken away from her on a recent trip away.

"I recently went to a lovely little house in Devon and because people down there weren't really recycling properly, they binned off the recycling and just put everything in the bin instead," she recalled.

"All of us there on the holiday struggled with it, we really hated it really, because it just felt so old fashioned."

With supermarket giants like Co-op providing these initiatives, it certainly makes it a lot easier for consumers to be able to do their bit when it comes to being green, but Sara says it's up to everyone - businesses and consumers alike - to make sure we're making real change.

"I feel like we all need to muck in really. I think companies are starting to listen and the big supermarkets are now trying their best to use less plastic and trying interesting new ways of packaging up their food and I think the responsibility sort of lies with all of us," she said.

Sara is a member of Co-op’s Behaviour Change Board, on a mission to find out how everyone can build better recycling habits at home, live more sustainably, and do their bit for the environment.

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