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Survey shows the Government is taking a step in the right direction to improve recycling rates

Olivia Healey

Almost a quarter of GB adults would be encouraged to recycle at home more if there were clearer instructions on product packaging about whether a product can or cannot be recycled, according to the results of a recent YouGov survey.

As stated in the Government’s Resource and Waste Strategy, mandatory labelling and improved communications on products will be introduced with the aim of making it easier for consumers to know which packaging can be recycled.

However, the results of the survey, commissioned by EMR Metal Recycling - a world leader in metal and plastic recycling - come at a time when it is almost certain that the UK will miss its EU target of recycling 50% of all household waste by 2020*.

The survey found, perhaps surprisingly, that GB adults would be encouraged to recycle more at home by simply improving the clarity of instructions on product packaging (23%) or if products had more environmentally-friendly packaging (20%).

The survey potentially reflects the shift in public perception, as other options on the survey were less popular. Being rewarded for recycling, more bins and more frequent household recycling collection days were less popular than wanting improved packaging and more knowledge on how products are recycled.

EMR sees this need for improved awareness as one of its key roles. It has recently become the metals champion for the Waste to Wealth initiative, devised by Business In The Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network). One of its roles as a champion is to reduce waste and one way it is doing that is by increasing awareness of the need to recycle as a key factor in restoring the health of the environment.

Starting at grass roots level, EMR offers a free ‘Mindful About Metals’ programme for primary schools. Targeted at school years 4 and 5, the programme aims to inspire young people to make positive environmental change by teaching them about recycling, why it is necessary and how it benefits the planet. Andrew Brady, EMR UK Chief Executive Officer, is happy with the apparent shift towards a more eco-conscious society. He said: “It is important to consider the impact of waste for future generations. With our free schools programme, we want to influence the generations that can make a real difference to recycling rates.”

“As one of the world’s leading metal recyclers, we know how significant recycling is for the environment. The metal and plastic we receive saves over 10 million tonnes of CO2 compared to using virgin materials.”

*Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs -