New research shows Londoners are still confused about recycling

With a third of London consumer’s admitting that recycling signs confuse 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 7% of London adults strongly believe that recycling labelling on products is clear and that only 14% of them completely trust this recycling labelling 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, over a third of the London 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,  Londoners are nearly 47% more likely to always recycle at home compared to when out and 30% less likely to always recycle when at work compared to when at home. This leaves a huge amount of materials going to waste.

DEFRA are tackling these labelling issues head on with their 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.

Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of UK and Ireland says,

“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. 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.”

Jane Bevis, Chair OPRL (On Pack Recycling Label) says,

“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, 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.”

Veolia aims to inject fresh perspective into these recycling situations to revolutionise the UK’s waste disposal tendencies, meet DEFRA’s July 2020 targets and regenerate the environment.  Our research found that 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.

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