Don’t waste your time – How local authorities can encourage recycling among residents
Last month, Zero Waste Scotland completed and published a report on Waste Composition Analysis, assessing the materials collected across 15 different councils in Scotland between 2021 and 2023. The report details what materials households throw away and what they recycle, highlighting opportunities for further waste prevention, recycling and diversion from landfills.
Shockingly, the findings revealed that the equivalent of 219kg of recyclable materials are binned annually per household. That means more than half (52%) of the items we put in our general waste bins could have been recycled.
WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT RECYCLING?
There are many reasons why residents might be disinterested or discouraged from recycling. Some might not be fully aware of the impact their actions could have, or they may be following improper disposal habits. In some instances, there may be inadequate recycling infrastructure, potentially enabling recyclable items to end up in the general waste stream.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES?
The UK has ambitions to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035 and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incinerated. If local authorities are to help meet these targets and support a circular economy, they must adapt and encourage residents to recycle.
HOW CAN LOCAL AUTHORITIES INCREASE RECYCLING RATES?
Awareness campaigns are an effective way to educate residents about the benefits of recycling, what can be recycled and how to do it correctly. Leaflets, web pages and social media posts can make recycling information easily accessible but must be well-informed, clear and consistent, and easy to find.
Specialised programs for hard-to-recycle items such as electronics, hazardous waste, or textiles are also useful. By expanding kerbside recycling programs to include a wide range of materials and implementing the infrastructure to recycle, residents will feel more encouraged to participate.
HOW CAN WASTE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS HELP?
Auditing the waste habits of local residents is an essential building block of any awareness campaign and can also provide a rationale for improving the recycling infrastructure in your local area.
Through waste composition analysis, local authorities can build a comprehensive profile of their area’s waste streams, helping understand what materials are ending up in the residual waste stream and identify areas for improvement.
SPEAK TO AN INDUSTRY EXPERT TODAY
Alfred H Knight supports a range of organisations, from Local Authorities to Waste Management companies and Energy from Waste power plants. We are present during each stage of the waste journey, helping clients to better understand their materials.
If you require an accurate and reliable profile of your area’s waste streams to inform recycling campaigns or to determine the behaviours of your residents, get in touch with one of our experts today via our contact page.