UK Public “Confused and Concerned” about recycling

26th September 2017 | Recycling

Viridor has today launched its 2017 UK Recycling Index – timed to coincide with the start of National Recycle Week – which it says sheds new light on the UK’s attitudes to recycling. In it, Viridor also gives its support for a standardised waste collection system as a means of boosting economic growth.

Amongst the key findings are that only 25% of th UK public believe that all waste that can be recycled is recycled: and that fewer than one in five (16%) people feel recycling labelling on product packaging is easy to understand.

Most consumers predicted negative consequences if recycling levels do not increase, but were open to initiatives that could lead to an increase in recycling levels: and they also believe product manufacturers and businesses selling products should contribute more to the cost of recycling.

Viridor says that the Index highlights confusion at a product level, with very few consumers finding recycling labelling on product packaging easy to understand – only half (49%) find it easy to tell whether black plastic food trays or disposable coffee cups are easy to recycle. Two thirds (66%) of the UK public are also frustrated that different councils recycle items in different ways, and fewer consumers are now confident that they have put their waste in the right bins – only four in ten (43%) are now very confident that they put different waste in the right bins (6% fall since 2016).

Paul Brown, Managing Director of Recycling and Integrated Assets at Viridor, said, “The public are confused about what and how to recycle, with the range of collection approaches in the UK and the stretching of local authority collection periods leading to continued contamination of potentially good material for recycling. A more standardised approach to waste collection, across local authority boundaries, would deliver economies of scale, encourage more social infrastructure in the right places and help boost economic growth.

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