Viridor UK Recycling Index highlights dissatisfying current recycling systems

Cover of Recycling Index (Source: Viridor)

Exeter, UK — Barriers that prevent higher levels of recycling include a lack of consumer knowledge about what they can and can’t recycle, a lack of consistency among councils with regard to recycling policy and a lack of transparency about what happens to waste once collected. This are the key findings of a Recycling Index Viridor has launched today that sheds new light on the UK’s attitudes to recycling. The Index’s findings coincide with National Recycle Week 2016 that aims to encourage household recycling.

Key findings of the RecyclingIndex include:

  • 66 per cent of people surveyed are frustrated about not having enough educational materials available on recycling
  • 78 per cent are frustrated that different councils recycle different things
  • 73 per cent want more transparency on what happens to their waste
  • 63 per cent of consumers are frustrated that different councils collect waste in different ways (e.g. different colour bins)
  • Consumers most confused about whether they can recycle light bulbs, crisps packets and coffee cups

Dan Cooke, Director of Communications & External Affairs at Viridor commented: “The Recycling Index shows that the UK’s recycling story and progress is being challenged by ‘wrong stuff, wrong bin’. People across the UK want to recycle more stuff, and recognise the importance of doing so, but they need better systems and support to ensure the right stuff goes in the right bin every time.“

Policy based on out-dated assumptions

Viridor believes that greater transparency in the recycling and waste sector is crucial to rebuilding confidence with UK consumers to support them with recycling. Further explamnation is needed to how waste can be transformed into new products, the smart technology used to do it, and the jobs and investment opportunities more recycling can offer the UK economy. The UK’s recycling policy remains largely based on out-dated assumptions about resources which reinforce old-school waste management contracts and waste collections based on authority boundaries that are not representative of the value of resources to the national economy.

Dan Cooke: „Viridor calls for new and ambitious thinking – from government and local authorities, the recycling sector, retailers and waste producers – that moves recycling, recovery and resource management closer to the needs of consumers and to a more productive economy.”

64 per cent recycling rate to be reached by 2021

The Index’s findings suggests that UK consumers want to recycle more household waste than they currently do. UK consumers believe that in five years’ time up to 64 per cent of household waste can be recycled – current recycling levels are around 44.3 per cent.

Earlier this year Viridor called openly for the development of Resource Networks which would see local authorities, business and regulators working at scale to deliver efficiencies in real resource management. The Resource Networks would offer fresh impetus for Britain’s resources policy in each country (England, Wales and Scotland), aligning with better regulation and productivity and investment agendas.

Viridor’s UK Recycling Index 2016 can be downloaded under

Source: Viridor Limited