Brits sceptical over on-street recycling

British citizens have much less confidence that waste from on-street recycling bins is actually recycled compared with waste collected from the kerbside.

A GB-wide public survey of over 2,000 citizens carried out by the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) found that net positive public confidence that recycling collected from homes is actually recycled is +43% in Wales, +36% in Scotland and +24% in England.

This compares with much lower net confidence for items disposed of in on-street recycling bins of +25% in Wales, +16% in Scotland and +9% in England.

Overflowing bins and witnessing other people using them incorrectly are the main reasons for people’s lack of confidence. Conversely, clear, easy-to-follow instructions about what can and can’t be recycled are the top positive influences on confidence in on-street recycling.

For household collections, a lack of information about what happens to recyclates after collection was given as the top reason in all three nations that negatively influences public confidence in recycling. 

The top positive influences differ between the three nations. A good service that is reliable and well-designed is top in Scotland and equal first in England, while information on what happens to recycling after collection is top in Wales and equal first in England.

Information on how well the area is doing at recycling, and seeing lots of households in the area recycle effectively, are also positive influences.

“A great plan now would be for the recycling supply chain to come together and shape the national and local actions to help improve public confidence because this will help with public behaviours and bolster recycling rates,” said Paul Vanston, CEO of INCPEN.

“INCPEN is continuing our work with those councils that have a great history of providing public information on what happens to recyclates. We are ready to broaden the partners, and the agenda, to ensure public confidence is actively supported”.

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