According to new research conducted by YouGov and unveiled today, over a third of UK consumers say that ‘recycling confuses them in general’.
Only 8% of the respondents reported that they ‘strongly believed’ that recycling labelling on products is clear. Startlingly, only 12% said they trusted the recycling labelling on products. 91% of people agreed that recycling is indeed ‘worth it’, in terms of time and energy output.
The study moreover revealed considerable disparity between people’s habits when at home, in the office and when out, with nearly 50% of respondents being more likely to always recycle at home compared to when out and almost twice as likely to always recycle at home than at work.
As this leaves a huge amount of materials going to waste, Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company, is calling the industry to action.
As Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of UK and Ireland points out:
“How can we expect people to recycle if they don’t trust the information presented to them? The nation is ready: people are onboard with recycling.” And Jane Bevis, On Pack Recycling Label chair added that ‘consumers tell us that clear, consistent advice is essential’. “They want to do the right thing and they want recycling labels on packaging to give practical information they can trust. That's why we've redesigned our labels to give a simple 'Recycle' or 'Don't Recycle' message.”
The Resources and Waste Strategy initiated by DEFRA, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs in the UK, to address these labelling issues aims to harmonise recycling labelling, to make it clearer to consumers. This should increase recycling habits.
But according to Veolia, the most common place for people to look to for recycling information is on the bins themselves. Veolia is encouraging the pairing of clearer signage across locations with consistent labelling to ensure a reduction in the imbalance of recycling in the workplace, when out and when at home. In the meantime, it is important for people to use their local council websites to ensure they are recycling the correct materials.