IT COMES as no surprise to me that half of British households recycle less than half of their waste and six out of ten people say they are “rubbish” at recycling.

Two separate surveys reveal the confusion surrounding how we dispose of our waste.

I’d love to stick more in my recycling bins, especially plastic goods, but where I live, the leaflet we receive from the council has as much in the ‘we don’t recycle’ section as the ‘what we can recycle’ bit.

And to be honest, I don’t think many people actually read the dos and don’ts. Yogurt cartons can’t be recycled, yet every week I walk along the road and see recycling bins bursting at the seams with them. The same goes for Tetra Pak cartons and take-away trays.

I don’t know how true it is but on a visit to a recycling plant I was told that if a bin contains just one item that isn’t meant to be there, the whole lot is spoiled and none of it is recycled. If it is true then a heck of a lot of stuff put out for recycling must end up in landfill.

I’ve also been told that any envelope with a plastic window in it can’t be recycled, yet there’s nothing on our list to say this. And I read how black trays, used for microwavable meals and meat, can’t be recycled because the machines in the sorting process are unable to detect them.

There are numbers on the bottom of recyclable products relating to the type of plastic, not all of which can be broken down and recycled. I am puzzled as to why any company uses plastic that cannot be broken down or recycled? And why do some councils recycle products that others cannot?

For the householder, there are other barriers to recycling. Prince Charles, who often wades in to the debate, recently put forward a suggestion that we put two bins in the bathroom to aid recycling. This is all well and good if people have bathrooms the size of Norfolk - as I am sure he does. But in the average family bathroom space is at a premium and many people struggle to accommodate one bin.

People living in flat, like my sister, have to separate their recycling into bags before lugging it some distance to neighbourhood bins.

However tricky it is to recycle, our growing waste problem needs addressing, particularly plastic.

It can take up to 400 years for a beer can holder to break down and even longer for some nappies and plastic bottles.

There is so much plastic in the world that it could form its own geological layer of the Earth, scientists at the University of Exeter warned this year.

The story of the whale found dying of the coast of Norway with 30 plastic bags in its stomach, leaving it malnourished was heart-rending, birds have been spotted feeding plastic to their young and plastic waste has even been found in the Arctic.

Encouraging household recycling and the small charge for plastic bags are steps in the right direction - but so much more can and should be done by the powers that be.

I was amazed to learn recently that this year Kenya - still classed as a developing country - introduced the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution. Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of £31,000.

The east African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.

It is not easy. I’m sitting with a plastic laptop on my knee and a plastic phone in my pocket. I have just opened a plastic DVD case and picked up a plastic remote control.

I’m just a mother-of-two from Yorkshire. I don’t know the answer. But if we are intelligent enough to send men to the moon and space probes to orbit Saturn, surely someone does.