Nearly half of UK residents think councils throw recycling in general waste

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

The gap between expectation and trust in the government to recycle properly is widening, according to Viridor MD Phil Piddington.

Speaking at RWM's opening keynote speech, Piddington used Viridor's Recycling Index 2019 to demonstrate the challenges to the recycling sector.

The index, which tracks public behaviour to recycling, found 42% of 2,500 respondents thought their council throws most of their recycling in general waste.

It also stated that 60% thought the national government was responsible for collecting recycling, yet just 10% trusted them to ensure waste was properly recycled.

The figures were equally negative for local councils, with 76% expecting councils to properly recycle waste but 18% believing this to be the case.

For Birmingham, where RWM is once again based, this leapt to 59%, an increase of 11 points from 2018 which may be indicative of the plethora of issues the city has had with its collections over the past few years.

Birmingham residents are also significantly less likely to use eco-friendly products such a reusable bottles and cups or recyclable products and packaging, compared to the UK average.

Just less than 40% believe their general and recyclable waste all goes to the ‘same place’, with nine in ten respondents saying councils should work together to collect materials in the same way.

Piddington said: “For the last few years, waste and waste management has risen right up the agenda across the globe. We now need to maximise recycling and keep that going.

"The public should feel confident that when they put the right stuff in the right bin, we ensure that it can be recycled and reprocessed by investing in UK infrastructure."

Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Liverpool all have higher expectations on recycling efforts compared to last year.

The impact of plastic pollution message has clearly not subsided given nine in ten (86%) said they believed eco-friendly alternatives to plastic should be adopted.

Yet 25% were concerned about the health and safety of using recycled packaging and just 49% said they would pay more for products in recycled packaging.

Viridor used the index to announce it will reprocess all of its collected plastics in the UK as of next year.

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