Survey: We just don’t care about recycling

A third of Brits make no effort whatsoever to recycle household waste despite millions of pounds being spent by local authorities to promote recycling, according to a recent survey.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 30th July 2011, 4:14 pm

The survey revealed that despite local councils actively encouraging residents to recycle and providing a range of initiatives to help them, many people simply aren’t interested.

The results of the national survey showed that people’s level of commitment to recycling was dependent on their age, gender and geographical location.

Residents in their sixties or older were the most eco-conscious, with only 29 per cent saying they were not committed to recycling.

But of those in their twenties, nearly half (49 per cent) confessed that they were not as committed to recycling as they could be.

Laziness appears to be a factor for the younger generation, too. 44 per cent of twenty-somethings said they would be significantly less likely to recycle if they had to sort their recyclable waste themselves, as opposed to the council doing it. Just 14 per cent of the over sixties said that having to sort out their own recycling was a deterrent.

When it came to comparing the commitment to recycling by gender, 37 per cent of men admitted they did not recycle regularly, compared to 30 per cent of women.

The survey revealed some councils were seen as being very proactive when it came to encouraging recycling through various initiatives, while other councils received a thumbs down from residents. Crucially, nearly half of those surveyed (45 per cent) felt that their local council could do more to encourage recycling.

The survey revealed that giving residents incentives to recycle was more likely to prove effective than punishing them with fines. Of those residents polled, 85 per cent said that rewards for recycling, such as vouchers or coupons, would be a greater encouragement than fines for not recycling.

With the government recently admitting it cannot force councils to provide weekly bin collections, the emphasis placed on recycling is going to be stronger than ever, but the poll also discovered that the recycling message is beginning to grate.

Two in ten (21 per cent) confessed that being constantly bombarded by the ‘saving the environment’ message has made them less enthusiastic about recycling.

Finally, it appears that nosy neighbour syndrome is rife across the UK, with almost half (48 per cent) of those surveyed admitting they judge their neighbours or friends who do not recycle.

Women in particular (52 per cent) admitted to ‘judging’, compared to 45 per cent of men, and 91 per cent of women compared to 79 per cent of men said they felt guilty about throwing recyclable goods into the bin.