23 September 2019 by Lucy Pegg

WRAP reports increase in recycling participation

Three in five UK households now report recycling extra items through their local authority recycling schemes, according to the latest findings published as part of WRAP’s Recycling Tracker survey.

Over the past year 60% of homes have reported recycling one or more extra items which they did not previously recycle, whilst a quarter of respondents said they have been recycling more food waste in the past year.

WRAP’s Recycling Tracker has found that more UK households are recycling more waste than previously

For the 2019 Recycling Tracker WRAP spoke to 5,452 people in March 2019, the largest sample ever used in the survey which has been running since 2004.

As well as an increase in recycling, greater recognition of the Recycle Now ‘swoosh’ logo was also noted, with 75% of people recognising the graphic compared to 45% in 2018.

However, 51% of UK households dispose of one or more items in their residual waste bin even though the item is collected for recycling in their area.

Contamination appears to have increased too, with 82% of respondents putting one or more items in their kerbside collection which is not accepted locally. In both 2017 and 2018 this statistic was at 76%.

Together these figures suggest that each household disposes of an average of 3.5 items “incorrectly”.

“We all take cues from others so the more of us that take recycling into our own hands – the more will join us.”

Peter Maddox, WRAP

Responding to the findings of the survey, Peter Maddox, WRAP director, said: “We should never shy away from constantly banging the drum for household recycling.

“It is hugely important to the health of the planet because small actions by a large number of people do make a difference.”

OPINION: ‘We are a nation of recyclers’ – Read Peter Maddox’s full thoughts on the findings from the Recycling Tracker survey

Social norms

As well as looking at changing recycling behaviours, the Recycling Tracker also found that social norms around recycling are changing too.

People who perceive recycling as a positive social norm are more likely to dispose of items correctly – the Recycling Tracker found that households who recognise the Recycle Now brand, which is managed by WRAP, positively reported positive recycling behaviour change.

This correlation was particularly strong for those who had seen recently launched campaigns from Recycle Now. 79% of those who had seen the ‘Britain Recycles’ campaign and 74% of people who had noticed the ‘Britain Does’ project said they were recycling more this year.

Mr Maddox commented on the importance of these changing social norms.

He said: “What you do influences your friends, family and neighbourhoods. We all take cues from others so the more of us that take recycling into our own hands – the more will join us”.

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