Report: British consumers mistakenly claim they recycle every day

Nespresso CEO: "Consumers need clear and comprehensive information and accessible infrastructure to enable them to recycle more." [Fen Labalme/Flickr]

Today, on International Recycling Day (17 May), a new report found that consumers are confused about recycling and recommends raising awareness of the practice.

The study, which was commissioned by Nespresso and carried out by digital consumer research group GWI, interviewed 10,200 people in 12 countries and highlighted the fact that 94% of those surveyed claim to recycle.

But government data says “this simply is not the case”, the Consumer Attitudes to Recycling Report report said. The reason is that there is widespread confusion about what recycling actually is.

“The report’s findings identified the need for better communication to consumers about recycling, show(ing) that consumers need stronger motivation to encourage them to recycle, and highlight the need for investment in infrastructure to make recycling simpler,” the survey pointed out.

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Perception and reality

According to the 94% who claim they recycle, 38% admitted that they are unsure how to do it, and 19% said that they don’t feel confident about recycling.

In the EU, British citizens polled said they recycle on a daily basis; however, the reality is different, as figures show that only 44% of waste is recycled.

At EU level, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands top the list in recycling, while Lithuania, Romania and Malta are lagging behind. In Bulgaria, the situation has deteriorated to the point where 100% of waste goes directly to landfill.

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Make recycling simpler

Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin stressed that “when it comes to recycling, consumer participation is vital […] the report shows that people want to do their part – but they don’t necessarily know how.”

“Consumers need clear and comprehensive information and accessible infrastructure to enable them to recycle more,” he added.

Duvoisin added that more investment is needed to make recycling simpler and stressed that his company has involved local authorities around the world to improve municipal collection and sorting schemes.