Recycling charter seeks to win trust of public

A new industry charter launched today (June 6) aims to boost public confidence in recycling by allowing people to find out where their household waste ends up.

The voluntary initiative is targeted mainly at local authorities and has been drawn up by the Resource Association with support from the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) executive.

The End Destinations of Recycling Charter aims to improve transparency around the end destination of recyclable materials from the household waste stream.

By providing better information to the public, the aim is to raise awareness and understanding, improve confidence in the recycling process, and increase participation in recycling schemes.

In a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Resource Association, 73% of respondents said they didn’t know the exact location of where the materials they put out for recycling go, while 65% had no idea what those materials will be made into.

In addition, 68% of UK adults wanted more information on what happens to recycled materials with 32% saying they would be more likely to recycle if this data was available.

However, according to a survey of the websites of 351 local authorities in England and Northern Ireland, however, only 17% had information on their websites about the end destination of recyclable materials collected from residents.

The Resource Association’s chief executive Ray Georgeson said there was “clearly scope to improve the range and level of information that is made available to the public” and that he hoped the charter would go some way to achieving this.

He said: “The public has shown its support for recycling – recent reports from Defra and DoE in Northern Ireland demonstrate that we have more than quadrupled household recycling in just over ten years.

“There is, however, a strong appetite for more information about what happens beyond the point of collection and evidence suggests that better understanding could help to maintain and increase this support.”

The initiative has been endorsed by Defra waste minister Lord Taylor who said it would “hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to recycle more”.

Those local authorities who sign up to the charter will commit to providing the public with accessible information through the publication of an annual register that wil cover the materials collected and provide the names and locations of the final reprocessing points, whether in the UK or abroad.

According to the Resource Association, a number of the UK’s major materials reprocessors have already committed to support local authorities with the audit trail and verification needed in relation to the materials supplied to them for reprocessing.

Maxine Perella

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