Charter to improve public information about end destinations of recycling
WHERE DOES THE RECYCLING GO? - RESOURCE ASSOCIATION AND LARAC LAUNCH CHARTER TO IMPROVE PUBLIC INFORMATION ABOUT END DESTINATIONS OF RECYCLING
A Charter designed to provide the public with a clearer picture of where their recycling ultimately ends up is being launched today by the Resource Association, supported by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Executive.
Commending the initiative, Defra waste minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “Everyone knows that recycling their rubbish is the right thing to do, but most people are completely unaware of what happens to their recycling after they put it out for collection. This new charter developed by the Resource Association and LARAC provides people with the answers and will hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to recycle more.”
The End Destinations of Recycling Charter is a voluntary initiative that seeks to improve the transparency around the end destination of recyclable materials from the household waste stream. By providing better information to the public, the aim is to raise awareness and understanding, improve public confidence in the recycling process, and increase participation in recycling schemes.
“The public has shown its support for recycling – recent reports from Defra and DoE in Northern Ireland (showing recycling rates of 42.5% and 42.8%) demonstrate that we have more than quadrupled household recycling in just over ten years. There is, however, a strong appetite for more information about what happens beyond the point of collection and evidence suggests that better understanding could help to maintain and increase this support,” says Ray Georgeson, chief executive of the Resource Association.
In a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Association1, 73% of respondents said that they don’t know the exact location of where the materials they put out for recycling go and 65% don’t know what these materials will be made into. In the same survey, 68% of UK adults said that more information should be available on what happens to recycled materials in terms of their destination and end use and 32% said that they would be more or much more likely to recycle if this information was available. According to a survey of the websites of 351 local authorities in England and Northern Ireland2, however, only 17% had information on their websites about the end destination of recyclable materials collected from residents.
“There is clearly scope to improve the range and level of information that is made available to the public, and the joint aim of the Resource Association and LARAC in initiating the End Destinations of Recycling Charter is to provide a framework through which this can be achieved,” explains Ray Georgeson
Those signing up to the Charter commit to providing the public with comprehensive and accessible information through the publication, at least annually, of a Register of End Destinations of Recyclates that covers the materials collected and provides the names and locations of the final reprocessing points, whether in the UK or abroad.
While the Charter is aimed primarily at local authorities in England and Northern Ireland3, it recognises that capturing the necessary information will require co-operation throughout the supply chain, including private sector contractors, materials reprocessors, waste brokers and other parties involved in taking recycled materials to the market. As members of the Resource Association, a number of the UK’s major materials reprocessors have already committed to support local authorities with the audit trail and verification needed in relation to the materials supplied to them for reprocessing.
“We welcome this chance to work with all the players involved to provide a robust picture of what happens to the recyclable materials collected from householders,” says Joy Blizzard, Chair of LARAC. “Local authorities know that waste and recycling is a service about which residents have strong opinions and perceptions, both positive and negative. In LARAC’s view, greater transparency will boost the public’s trust in recycling, address some of the inaccurate perceptions about where recyclable materials end up, and help local authorities to be confident in the service they provide.”
The End Destinations of Recycling Charter, a list of the founder signatories and more information can be found at www.resourceassociation.com. The Association has written to all local authority Chief Executives and Portfolio Holders to encourage them to support the Charter.
1 YouGov online survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov plc. Total sample size was 2078 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 11th - 14th May 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
2 Resource Association in-house survey of all English and Northern Irish local authority websites. Fieldwork completed April/May 2012. Of the 351 websites surveyed, only 61 carried any information at all about the end destination of household recyclables (5 of 26 in Northern Ireland, 56 of 325 in England).
3 In Scotland and Wales, the devolved governments are already making arrangements with all local authorities collectively to publish information on the end destination of recyclates. However, any councils in Scotland and Wales that wish to indicate their support will be welcome to sign the Charter.
4 The End Destinations of Recycling Charter is attached with this release, together with a summary of the YouGov survey, entitled Where Does the Recycling Go? – a survey of public awareness about recycling and recycled products.
5 The Resource Association focuses on championing the value of UK reprocessing and recycling in terms of employment, resource efficiency and integrity, carbon reduction and our role in the low-carbon, green economy. It seeks constructive dialogue with Governments across the UK, the European Commission, other trade associations and stakeholders with shared interests.
6 LARAC, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, represents local authority recycling professionals and has 313 member authorities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, including associates from the Isle of Man, Eire and the Channel Islands. More information can be found at www.larac.org.uk
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