Re-Gen survey finds need for ‘simplicity’ in recycling

A survey commissioned by Re-Gen waste has found that householders in Northern Ireland would recycle more if glass was included in their commingled stream.

The PRN system is encouraging the export of mixed glass to the detriment of UK industry, British Glass said (picture: Shutterstock)

The survey, carried out by Lucid Talk, covered all 11 councils in the country in March 2022, with the results highlighting “the need for simplicity and convenience”, Re-Gen said.

Re-Gen Waste operates a materials recycling facility (MRF) in Newry, which sorts recycling from several Northern Ireland councils, as well as other UK nations.

According to the data, almost one in four householders in Northern Ireland say they are not happy with the way they have been asked to recycle their household waste.

However, in council areas where household recyclables (plastic, paper, card, tins and cardboard, etc.) can be ‘commingled’ with glass in the same bin, 82% of householders reported that they were happy with how their council has asked them to recycle.

A further  81% of the householders surveyed across Northern Ireland said that they try to recycle everything they can, up from 74% in 2019. However, 17% of the respondents admitted to recycling only when it was convenient for them.


Re-Gen also highlighted that the results show the importance of including glass in commingled collections.

Of the councils that don’t offer a fully commingled recycling service with glass, over half said they would recycle more if there was one bin that took all recycling, including glass.

102 of 163 surveyed Belfast households also complained about the lack of glass recycling service.

Joseph Doherty is managing director of Re-Gen Waste, which commissioned the survey

Joseph Doherty, managing director of Re-Gen Waste Ltd, commented: “The survey found that 8% of people across NI who can’t recycle their glass along with the rest of their recycling waste, will put their glass in the municipal waste bin, compared to 1.8% who live in council areas that offer a commingled glass recycling service.”

He continued: “In Belfast, 22% of respondents said they put their glass in their municipal waste bin rather than recycle it, an increase of 2% since 2019. This council area does not offer a fully commingled glass recycling service. If Belfast Council was a customer of Re-Gen Waste, it could avail of commingling recyclables and provide a higher service to householders.”

Mr Doherty emphasised that the survey shows that if recycling is made easy for householders, they will recycle more.

He concluded: “If we provide householders with a recycling service that allows them to put glass into their recycling bins, the volume of glass in their black bins and therefore landfill decreases dramatically.”



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