Young people want clearer recycling messages

Simple alignment of recycling messaging and infrastructures could go a long way to improving young people's recycling rates out of the home, a report published today (11 May) suggests.

The study says that today’s youth – 16-25 year olds – are by far the largest consumers of ‘on the go’ packaging, but that more needs to be done to improve recycling rates.

The research Recycling on the go – a youth perspective conducted by packaging trade body Can Makers, asked young people to put forward suggestions on what could be done to encourage greater recycling while out and about.

Ideas included simple and singular symbols, which should be universally adopted, plus easy access to standardised bins. Those questioned felt that there were inconsistencies in the usage of recycling symbols, both on pack, at the point of sale and at recycling points.

The students also surveyed their peers and found that 88% said they would definitely recycle more if bins were available.

Student spokesperson, Adam Cooley, said: “This has been a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the recycling challenge. So often young people are criticised as being the root of the problem, but we are never given a voice to suggest our solutions.

“Some things, like singular messaging and an increase in the number of standard recycling bins just jumped out as obvious things to do.”

Can Makers chairman, Geoff Courtney, added: “Can Makers will be raising issues highlighted in the report with relevant industry bodies with a view to helping to increase ‘on the go’ recycling rates amongst Britain’s young people.”

Maxine Perella

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