Young Britons are the least committed to recycling waste, a study commissioned by Veolia has found.
A YouGov poll of more than 2,500 people indicated that 74% of over 55s in the UK considered it very important to recycle as much as possible, but only 57% of 18-24 year olds did so.
“Most people assume that younger people are more socially and environmentally conscious, yet this study turns this logic on its head,” said Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice president of Veolia in UK.
She added the company had noticed poor recycling practices among youngsters, especially students.
“We specifically see this in areas with a high student population where we find large amounts of contamination in their recycling.
“For many this is because it is their first time away from home, for others they may not see it as being their problem and for some they are confused as the rules are different from where they lived before.”
The poll found that younger people were also most likely to consider local and national governments responsible for recycling, with only around a third thinking that they as individuals bear the largest responsibility.
The study also indicated that women were more conscious than men about separating recyclables.
Some 81% female respondents said they felt guilty if they did not segregate waste, while 69% of male respondents did so.