4 in 10 UK adults distrust local recycling services, according to poll

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11th September 2019 17:39 - Local Government

4 in 10 UK adults distrust local recycling services: A survey has revealed a distrust of local authorities when it comes to recycling, with 42% believing that most of their recycling is ‘thrown in’ with the general waste by their local council.

The survey, conducted for resources and waste firm Viridor, questioned 2,500 UK adults in Manchester, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Liverpool, Bristol and Taunton.  

It found that residents had concerns that recycling would not be carried out properly at local recyling sites - with Birmingham dwellers displaying the most distrust. Almost three in five (59%) respondents agreed with the statement "I think my council just throws most of my recycling in with the general waste.” 

London residents were the second least trusting, with just under half (46%) not certain that their recycling was processed correctly by local authorities, followed by Edinburgh (42%), Liverpool (41%) and Cardiff (40%). People in Taunton were the most trusting of their local councils with just 29% agreeing with the statement, followed by Bristol, Glasgow (both 36%) and Manchester (38%). 

When asked about who is responsible for recycling in the UK, more than three quarters (76%) said their local council, however just 18% said they trusted their local authority ‘a great deal’ to play their role in ensuring waste is recycled properly - leaving a 'trust gap' of 58 points.

The second largest gap in trust was found to be for the national government, with 63% saying they believe it isresponsible for ensuring recycling is conducted properly, but just 10% satisfied that it will be done effectively. 

Almost two thirds (65%) said they believe ‘individuals like me’ are responsible for recycling, however, just 40% trust individuals to do it properly, while more than half (56%) cited waste management companies, although just 21% trusted these would play their role in carrying out the process effectively. Finally, 49% said they expect businesses to be responsible for recycling, however just 8% trust that they will. 

Nine out of ten people (87%) said that instead of exporting recycling to other countries, the UK should find a means to deal with its own recycling, with 89% saying that plastic waste should be used to ‘create useful resources’ than can be reused.

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