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Attitude shift claimed in anniversary survey

A survey of attitudes to recycling a decade after a pioneering advertising campaign indicates that over 95% of consumers actively recycle household items such as packaging.

When WRAP launched its national TV advertising campaign on 6 September 2004, followed by the UK’s first national recycling week called The Big Recycle, UK households produced 30.5 million tonnes of waste, of which 17% was collected for recycling.

A decade after working on the initiative, sector PR specialists Pelican Communications have assessed householders’ attitudes to recycling.

As well as indicating high levels of participation, Pelican’s survey also shows 70% of consumers have confidence that all or most of the material they put out is recycled, with only 6% saying none or very little is recycled. In addition 70.4% said they would recycle more if they were confident all of the material was recycled. 

Local authorities, brands and other stakeholders need to find innovative ways to not only maintain consumer confidence and commitment to recycling, but to boost it

Michael Bennett, Pelican PR

Of the 1,400 consumers surveyed, 85% believed their material ended up at a recycling centre. Even so, a quarter thought some of their material was either exported or used for energy generation. A view that material goes straight to landfill or ends up being landfilled after reaching the recycling centre was held by 17%.

The survey also looked at barriers to recycling and found 23% of respondents said lack of local authority provision prevented them from recycling, while 20.7% said it was due to lack of space for bins. Almost half (49.4%) said there were no barriers to them recycling more.

“Our research reveals the significant change in consumer attitudes that has underpinned the growth in the recycling rate,” said Pelican managing director, Michael Bennett.

“Whilst the budgets for TV advertising campaigns are no longer available, local authorities, brands and other stakeholders need to find innovative ways to not only maintain consumer confidence and commitment to recycling, but to boost it.”

Wrap recycling campaign 2004

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