Greater engagement, motivation and infrastructure are essential to boost recycling rates in England, according to a panel of waste experts and the public.
The conclusion comes from ‘Citizens’ Juries’, a series of focus groups in Manchester and London established by Keep Britain Tidy and with Sita UK.
The project was launched at the beginning of the year with the background of English recycling rates plateauing at around 43%, prompting fears that the UK will not be able to meet an EU-set target of recycling 50% of municipal waste by 2020.
The groups’ discussions have resulted in the Ur[Bin] Issue report which includes a 10-point action plan:
- a new and deeper public debate on the value of resources and waste
- continued investment in communication
- profile the environmental, social and economic benefits of the waste and resources sector
- local authorities to introduce a tax rebate for recycling more and reducing waste
- rebuilding trust in recycling and demonstrating local community benefits
- an overarching framework to standardise collections
- food waste collections for all households by 2016
- city and town council planning requirements to include household recycling obligations for developers, particularly for flats
- revolutionise ‘recycling on the go’
- better product design to prevent waste
“We saw from the citizens’ juries that once householders are engaged, this empowers them to make their own positive choices and adjust their behaviours accordingly,” said Gev Eduljee, director of external affairs at Sita.
“However, poorly designed infrastructure, together with a lack of positive reinforcement, undermined attitudes towards recycling,” he added.
Eduljee also said that residents “craved” more leadership and simplification in recycling initiatives.