The survey by Greenredeem highlights a growing complacency among the British public to embark on green actions, in the wake of recent statistics from Defra which revealed that the rate of increase in recycling rates has slowed down.

Two-thirds (64%) of Brits reckon the Government doesn’t yet do enough to incentivise recycling, which would suggest that that current schemes to drive up recovery rates are not having the necessary consumer impact.

According to the study, a quarter of respondents (25%) claim to be concerned about the environmental future of the planet, but not enough to motivate them to be green. Just under a third (29%) admit to not recycling as much waste as they could due to not being bothered, and a worrying minority (3%) admit to never having recycled.

Perhaps crucially, over a quarter (27%) of British adults say that they do not recycle as they don’t get anything out of it personally, with a similar proportion (24%) who claim that they would recycle more if they were to get something tangible back for it such as vouchers, money or money off goods and services.

Commenting on the results, environmentalist Tony Juniper said: “We are very far from where we need to be in reaching the goal of ‘zero waste’ that so many now believe is both possible and desirable to achieve.

“Part of the problem is down to the fact that a high proportion of people remain resistant to the notion of recycling, including because they see no personal benefit arising from it.

“To get into the modern league of top recyclers will require more than awareness and good facilities. Clearer incentives that make sense to those who are still reluctant would undoubtedly help.”

A personal sense of selfishness aside, the study also highlighted that over a third (37%) who don’t recycle claim that it’s due to a lack of convenient facilities. Currently only a quarter (26%) of people will recycle their waste in recycling bins in their communities.

This means that many people who do recycle at home are not transferring this behaviour when on the go, and this presents a clear opportunity for local governments to boost local recycling rates by offering more recycling facilities in high traffic locations such as high streets and local supermarkets.

Maxine Perella

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