Confidence in recycling lowest in England, INCPEN finds

Public confidence in recycling has declined in England over the last six months, while in Scotland and Wales it has risen, according to a survey carried out by the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN).

The survey of over 2,000 citizens across Great Britain, published today (21 October) found that a lack of information on what happens to recyclables after collection is the “top reason” that negatively influences UK public confidence in recycling.

But, more respondents in Wales and Scotland said they have seen or heard something in the last six months that impacted positively on their confidence rather than negatively.

Nearly half (46%) said they didn’t know.

Confidence in England has fallen by 4% in six months

The INCPEN survey found during this period Wales has seen an 8% increase in confidence, while Scotland has seen a 5% increase.

During the last six months in England, however, public confidence levels went down by 4%, with more respondents saying they had seen or heard something to impact negatively on their faith that items are actually recycled.

England also had the lowest public confidence overall with only 24% of residents saying they believed items collected were actually recycled. Wales had the highest level of confidence with 43%, while Scotland had 36%.

Public confidence that recycling collected from on-street bins is actually recycled is lower across all three nations with 25% in Wales, 16% in Scotland and just 9% in England.

Positive influence

In Wales, knowledge on what happens to recycling after collection is the “top positive influence” on public confidence in recycling at home, while in England this is equal alongside having a good service that is “reliable and well-designed”.

In Scotland, the top positive influence on public confidence in recycling at home is having a good service that is reliable and well-designed.

‘Come together’

Paul Vanston, chief executive of INCPEN, commented: “A great plan now would be for the recycling supply chain to come together and shape the national and local actions to help improve public confidence because this will help with public behaviours and bolster recycling rates.

Paul Vanston
Paul Vanston is chief executive of INCPEN

“INCPEN is continuing our work with those councils that have a great history of providing public information on what happens to recyclates. We are ready to broaden the partners, and the agenda, to ensure public confidence is actively supported”.


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