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Survey Shows 60% of Britons Don’t Care About Recycling

The Defra-backed initiative ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’, which was set up to encourage the recycling of plastics, have recently released survey results which claim 60% of Britons are uninterested in recycling.

Two thirds of the UK ‘indifferent’ about recycling

The survey’s worrying outcome notes that almost two thirds of the UK are said to be indifferent about the environment and its ever-worsening state, with one in ten young people going as far as saying they do not care about the environment and recycling at all. Though further figures detail the nation’s attempts at better recycling practice, only one-in-six of people surveyed had ever deliberately bought items on account of their being made from recycled materials.
Indeed, with only a third of the 1,000 people surveyed believing they recycled as much as possible, the attitude amongst the nation’s households is clearly one of disinterest, or perhaps disillusionment, about the growing problem of the lack of recycling. Figures released on the ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’ website give an example of this, with an estimated consumption of 440 plastic bottles per household each year, with only 250 of these being recycled.

It is on account of figures like these that initiatives such as the ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’ scheme have been launched. To make the recycling process easy for consumers, this scheme urges them to recycle just one extra plastic item a day; a small change that the founders of this initiative believe really could make all the difference.

Pledge 4 Plastics scheme backed by Defra

Backed heavily by Defra to the tune of £20,000 upon its introduction under previous name ‘Plastics Please’, this project has been joined, pledged to and supported by many of the multinationals. Companies including Nestle UK, Unilever, PlasticsEurope and Marks and Spencers have shown their support, each pledging £5,000 to show their commitment to the scheme. This evidential support comes as music to the ears of government officials, who are rightly concerned following the results of this survey. Entrusted with reaching EU targets of the public recycling 50 per cent of their waste by the year 2020, these environment ministers are ever in favour of such supporting initiatives which are put in place to impact public behaviour.
What the ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’ survey shows, though, is just how much work there is to be done by this and other schemes in order to change public opinions of, and raise awareness about, the importance of recycling plastics and other materials. The country and its officials need not despair, though, as recent figures from the EU statistics office note that Britain is by no means the worst recycling zone in Europe, exceeding other EU member countries’ recycling rates quite significantly. Britain manages to recycle 43.9 per cent of household waste at present, comfortably surpassing the EU average of 42%, with countries such as France at just 39 per cent, Spain at 27 per cent and Romania who recycle as little as one per cent.

The disinterest of Britons toward household recycling, though not as worrying as figures such as these, is still considerable in comparison to other EU countries including Germany, who manage to recycle 65 per cent of their household waste, Austria 62 per cent and Belgium 57 per cent. This survey, along with these figures, demonstrates a serious need for the addressing of a nation’s recycling habits.

At Woodford Recycling, we are dedicated to reducing the environmental impact that our production and our customers’ consumption has on the environment. Covering the Huntingdon, Cambridge, Peterborough and beyond, we are committed to increasing recycling levels in the surrounding areas one step at a time. For more information, get in touch today.


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