Veolia UK director Robert Hunt believes that getting the recycling message through to schoolchildren will be essential for the UK to reach future recycling targets set by the EU.
Speaking at a seminar by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) on behaviour change, Hunt told the audience that he had recently returned from holding workshops on recycling at schools and had been surprised by the level of interest the subject received.
He said: “Education is key. Kids are actually really interested in recycling and in the future of recycling.”
With Hunt, WRAP’s Patrick Mohan, Soenecs’ director David Greenfield and Heather Gainforth, researcher at the Centre for Behavioural Change, gave tips on how the general public could be encouraged to recycle more.
Greenfield said that “shoving” residents, rather than “hugging”, “nudging”, or “smacking” them, had been “very successful” in increasing the country’s recycling rate from 11% to 43.2%.
Hugging and nudging are classed as incentive or reward-based techniques while shoving and smacking are methods to punish behaviour.
Hunt agreed that “punishing” non-compliers would help increase the amount of recycling, saying that recycling schemes should be “simple to implement but also made expensive for people not to recycle”.