Survey finds distrust in local recycling systems

9th September 2019 | Recycling

42% of people in the UK believe that their local authority “throws most of the recycling in with general waste” according to the findings of a survey by resources and waste firm Viridor. The 209 Viridor Recycling Index – the fourth time that Viridor has canvassed public attitudes towards recycling and waste – asked for views on areas including trust in public authorities handling the UK’s waste, recycling exports and responsibility for education on issues around waste.

The survey of 2,500 people in areas including Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Taunton and Edinburgh suggest that there is widescale “distrust” over whether recycling is done properly across the different regions. This proved significantly to be the case in Birmingham where 59% of people answered that they agreed with the statement “I think my council just throws most of my recycling in with the general waste.”

Recycling Systems

On recycling exports, Viridor claims that the Index shows a strong support for the processing of plastic waste within the UK. 85% of people would support domestic-only reprocessing of plastic waste, Viridor claims, a rise of five points compared to the 2018 index. This has prompted the company to pledge to end the export of plastic waste from its own operations by the end of 2020 – when it anticipates that it will be able to send material to its 80,000 tonnes per year plastics recycling facility at Avonmouth, which is currently in development.

Viridor’s pledge comes at a time when tightening export markets have resulted in a boom in the value of PRNs for plastic. Phil Piddington, managing director of Viridor, said, “Viridor has been using the Recycling Index to track public attitudes to recycling for four years and, as a UK company working with 150 local authority and major corporate clients and 32,000 customers, we understand the appetite for greater resource efficiency and a more circular economy.

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