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Charter urges greater transparency over recycled material

The Resource Association has launched a charter to improve public information about end destinations of recovered materials.

The End Destinations of Recycling Charter [pdf], supported by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, is a voluntary scheme to raise awareness and understanding and improve public confidence in recycling.

Authorities and contractors signing up to the charter will commit to providing the public with “comprehensive and accessible information through the publication, at least annually, of a Register of End Destinations of Recyclates that covers the materials collected and provides the names and locations of the final reprocessing points, whether in the UK or abroad”.

Defra waste minister Lord Taylor said: “Everyone knows that recycling their rubbish is the right thing to do, but most people are completely unaware of what happens to their recycling after they put it out for collection.

“This charter developed by the Resource Association and Larac provides people with the answers and will hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to recycle more.”

Ray Georgeson, chief executive of reprocessor body the Resource Association, said the polls showed the public supported recycling and wanted to know more about what happened to materials after collection.

In a YouGov poll commissioned by the RA [pdf], 73% of people said they did not know where their recycling ended up, and 65% did not know what the recycled materials would be made into.

In the survey, 68% said more information should be available on what happens to recycled material, and 32% said this would make them more likely to recycle.

The RA said less than a fifth of local authority websites surveyed provided this kind of information.

Joy Blizzard

Joy Blizzard, chair of LARAC said: “In LARAC’s view, greater transparency will boost the public’s trust in recycling; address some of the inaccurate perceptions about where recyclable materials end up; and help local authorities to be confident in the service they provide.”

Matthew Farrow, policy director at the Environmental Services Association: “Recycling is one of the success stories of the last decade and has been built on a flourishing domestic and international market for recyclates which spans the UK, wider EU and the rest of the world.

“ESA members are a key part of this value chain and within the constraints of commercial confidentiality are always willing to help local authorities provide information on recycling to their residents.”

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