Deciding what to throw on the scrapheap amid mass public confusion looks set to be the theme of the week.

So, although it might struggle to get headlines against the backdrop of the rolling Westminster soap opera, it’s perhaps an apt time to begin the UK’s official Recycling Week.

To kick things off, climate change body Wrap produced a report under its Recycle Now arm today showing just how bamboozled the average household is by their local authority recycling guidelines.

According to the report, a staggering 80% are contaminating their recycling by making well-intentioned mistakes over which packaging to include.

Some are well-intentioned but hard to understand, such as the sheer number of UK households – more than a third – who mistakenly think drinking glasses can be recycled, in the phenomenon referred to by Wrap as ‘wish cycling’.

However, it’s worth looking at the most common other contaminants listed in Wrap’s ’Get Real about Recycling’ message.

These include cartons, plastic film lids and frozen veg bags, all of which are routinely recycled by many local authorities across the land. The trouble is, it all depends in which postcode you happen to live.

Meanwhile, Wrap flags up packaging commonly left unrecycled, such as perfume bottles, even though they could be in many areas (but of course, not in others).

To add to the complexity, a whole series of supermarkets and convenience retailers like Co-op have in recent months unveiled in-store recycling schemes for a plethora of soft plastics hitherto branded as unsuitable for recycling. While their efforts are to be applauded, the effect, sadly in many cases, has simply been to add more doubt over what can and cannot be included in doorstep collections.

As part of this week’s initiative, Wrap is launching a new postcode-based web finder to help consumers check their local authorities’ particular rules.

While this too is a positive move, you don’t have to be Jeremy Hunt to conclude a shrewder policy is for the government to pull its finger out and ensure local authorities have consistent collections.

But it doesn’t come as a huge shock that this government’s attempt at ensuring consistency has fallen way behind schedule. Recently, Defra promised the legislation would come before parliament before the end of the year. But considering the mess it’s in, it would take a brave investor to put any money on it.

The same can be said for its guidance on deposit return schemes, which Defra is promising will finally emerge before the end of the year. Yet only last week The Grocer revealed the department was again looking at the issue of whether glass should be included within DRS, despite opposition from large parts of the industry.

It’s no wonder Joe Public is in such a spin. Sadly, the government’s environmental agenda, like virtually every other major policy at the moment, is in disarray while the leadership’s economic crisis dominates the agenda.

So credit to the likes of Wrap for continuing to pursue the agenda. But for now it’s probably best, as its campaign slogan suggests, to get real about expectations.