One of the biggest challenges as a nation is recycling outside of the home

One of the biggest challenges as a nation is recycling outside of the home

February 18, 2020
Press Release: Veolia

With over a third of consumers admitting that recycling confuses them in general, Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company, is calling the industry to action

Brand-new research conducted by YouGov found that only 8% of Brits strongly believe that recycling labeling on products is clear and that only 12% of them trust this recycling labeling on products.

Public confusion and distrust of recycling labelling leads to lower rates. Recycling is a constant environmental commitment, yet YouGov found that when out and about, nearly half of the public find information on this unclear. A huge disparity between habits when at home, in the office and being out was uncovered by this research. In fact, the public are nearly 50% more likely to always recycle at home compared to when out and almost twice as likely to always recycle at home than at work. This leaves a huge amount of materials going to waste.

DEFRA are tackling these labeling issues head on with their groundbreaking ‘Resources and Waste Strategy’ coming to fruition throughout the course of the year. This progressive strategy will harmonize recycling labeling, making it clearer to consumers, in turn this should increase recycling habits.

“How can we expect people to recycle if they don’t trust the information presented to them?” asked Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer of Veolia UK & Ireland. “The nation is ready: people are onboard with recycling. To reach our targets, the UK needs standardization 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.”

“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, summarizing 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 labeling system that consumers know they can rely on.”

Veolia aims to inject fresh perspective into these recycling situations to revolutionize the UK’s waste disposal tendencies, meet DEFRA’s July 2020 targets and regenerate the environment. The company’s research found that the most common place for people to look to for recycling information is on the bins themselves. Veolia is therefore encouraging the pairing of clearer signage across locations with consistent labeling 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.

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