A public survey by the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) has highlighted the impact of transparency on public confidence in recycling.
Published on the 21 October 2021 at the Resourcing the Future conference, the survey of 2,000 citizens across England, Wales and Scotland reported that a lack of information about what happens to recyclates after collection is the top reason that negatively influences public confidence in recycling.
44% of respondents in England, 46% in Scotland and 50% in Wales said their own recycling behaviours are influenced by whether items actually get recycled. Conversely, the number of respondents saying their recycling behaviours are not influenced by whether items actually get recycled were 22% in England, 24% in Wales and 26% in Scotland.
In Wales, provision of information on what happens to recycling after collection is the top positive influence on public confidence in recycling at home. This is also the top reason in England, 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.
The top 4 positive influences in all three nations (in differing orders) were:
A good service that is reliable and well-designed: top in Scotland and equal first in England.
Information on what happens to recycling after collection: top in Wales and equal first in England
Information on how well the area is doing at recycling; and
Seeing lots of households in the area recycle effectively.
Other influences emerging from the survey include:
Seeing how the recycling is collected
TV news or documentaries about recycling (sixth positive influence in England and Wales)
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter; and
Word of mouth, family & friends.
Paul Vanston, CEO of INCPEN said of the survey: “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. 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.”