Public is still ‘confused’ by recycling, says new report

Calls made for the food and drink industry to take action after new research shows that the public is still confused about recycling.

New research conducted by YouGov has found that just 8 percent of British people strongly believe that recycling labelling on products is clear and only 12 percent of them trust recycling labelling on products.

Now, Veolia is calling the industry to action.  

“How can we expect people to recycle if they don’t trust the information presented to them?” said Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of UK and Ireland. “The nation is ready: people are onboard with recycling. To reach our targets, the UK needs standardisation in the initial stage of the chain. There is an answer: binary labelling which clearly states if it can or can’t be recycled. This paired with signage and the consistency in guidelines to accommodate all locations is fundamental to help people separate their products correctly. These fundamental changes will shake up the system, making the move towards a circular economy and resuscitating the environment.”

DEFRA has said it is tackling these labelling issues head-on with its groundbreaking Resources and Waste Strategy coming to fruition throughout the course of the year. This progressive strategy will harmonise recycling labelling, making it clearer to consumers, in turn this should increase recycling habits, the company said.

Veolia has further said it aims to inject a fresh perspective into these recycling situations to revolutionise the UK’s waste disposal tendencies, meet DEFRA’s July 2020 targets and regenerate the environment. Its research found that the most common place for people to look to for recycling information is on the bins themselves. Veolia stated it is encouraging the pairing of clearer signage with consistent labelling to ensure a reduction in the imbalance of recycling in the workplace, when out and when at home.

“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,” added Jane Bevis, Chair, OPRL (On Pack Recycling Label). “That’s why we’ve redesigned our labels to give a simple ‘Recycle’ or ‘Don’t Recycle’ message, summarising the evidence on what councils collect, what MRFs can sort, what gets re-processed and what gets turned into new packaging or products.

“It’s time for a single mandatory labelling system that consumers know they can rely on.”



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