Recycling rates reflect rise in awareness

National and local campaigns which highlight the importance of recycling at home have been credited with making a positive change to public attitudes to waste.

According to figures published by Recycle Now, almost 60% of us are now ‘committed recyclers’, compared to just 45% in September 2004.

The results comes from a survey of 1,500 members of the public from a broad cross section of society.

Committed recyclers are defined in the survey as those who said recycling was very or fairly important to them, would recycle even if it required additional effort and claimed to recycle everything that they could or at least ‘a lot’ of what could be recycled.

Intention has not quite been matched by action, however, as the 14% increase in ‘committed’ recyclers over the past two tears only appears to have resulted in an increase of around 7% in household recycling rates across the UK.

The survey also showed over nine out of ten (93%) people regard recycling as important and more than eight out of ten (82%) respondents say they now recycle a lot or everything – compared to 65% two years ago.

The number of people who say they do not recycle has almost halved – from 13% to 7%.

Improved access to recycling facilities is a key factor highlighted by many respondents, with 80% of those surveyed saying it is convenient for them to recycle and 72% saying they use the doorstep recycling collection service for two or more materials – an increase of 21%.

The Recycle Now campaign was launched in September 2004 by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) which links the increased acceptance of the importance of recycling to the positive publicity it has received.

“These latest figures highlight the direct success of the Recycle Now campaign and the excellent additional impact achieved with the support of many local authorities, who have used the campaign to strengthen their own communication activities at local level,” says WRAP Chief Executive Jennie Price.

“It shows that many more people understand the importance of recycling compared to just two years ago and that they are actively recycling more stuff, more often.”

Sam Bond

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