British public happy to recycle, but want to dump fortnightly collections
The majority of people in Great Britain are happy to sort their own waste for recycling and are even in favour of fining people who won’t, but they are not prepared to wait two weeks for their bins to be emptied or to pay any extra for their council collection services.
These were the findings of an independent research study - Rubbish Service: Who Pays? - commissioned by Materials Recycling Week on behalf of the Recycling and Waste Management exhibition which takes place in Birmingham from 12-14 September 2006.
Conducted by BMRB Omnibus and Explomarket Ltd, the study of consumer and local authority attitudes to recycling found that, despite being cast as lazy recyclers, the majority of the British public are now happy to sort their own waste for recycling and view the practice of chucking everything into one wheelie bin as a thing of the past. However there is still a reality gap between what they believe is best for the environment and what they are actually prepared to do (81% believe that having separate bins and containers for different materials is the best environmental option but only 62% would choose this as their preferred method of household waste collection).
The study also revealed that given the choice, two thirds of people would like a weekly rubbish and recycling collection. Fortnightly and alternate weekly collections (waste collected one week – recycling collected the other) are not popular among the public. However this contrasts with local authority thinking, where fortnightly and alternate weekly collections have a greater proportion of supporters.
Paul Sanderson, editor of Materials Recycling Week, said: “Around a third of local authorities currently operate alternate weekly collections. Most have been very successful in getting people to recycle more and 11 out of the top 14 local authorities in recycling league tables operate this type of scheme. But as the recent protests in Scunthorpe about this sort of collection demonstrated, it can be controversial with the public.”
According to the study, most people do not think they should pay for their waste and recycling to be collected, but the majority of local councils feel there should be some charge made for the service. And the level of charge councils feel is fair (£2.72 per week) is more than double that which the public would be prepared to pay (£1.14 per week).
However, the British public do support the idea of fining systems to penalise people who refuse to recycle. Among councils, support for fining systems is even greater, and councils agree with the public that a fine of up to £50 per offence would be reasonable.
Commenting on the rising cost of household waste and recycling collections, Paul Sanderson, editor of Materials Recycling Week, said: “At present, people pay around £2 per week in council tax for waste collections. But as the rate of landfill tax increases each year and the UK faces the threat of substantial EU fines if we do not meet our targets under the Landfill Directive, people could find their council tax will go up massively.”
“Variable charging for waste collections is one solution which is set to become a hot topic in the UK. It is already quite common in Europe, and was introduced in the Republic of Ireland about 18 months ago. Basically it means that people who do not recycle would be charged for all of the remaining waste they generate, which could mean a significant extra charge for many people.
“Fining people who don’t recycle is another way of meeting these costs and improving recycling rates. Compulsory recycling is spreading across London Boroughs and will probably move outside of the capital eventually.”
And finally it seems that while flytipping is top of a list of council concerns, it is dogs’ mess and litter which really get up residents’ noses, with flytipping at the bottom of their list of neighbourhood gripes.
For the full story [from 11 September 2006], please see http://www.mrw.co.uk/
To find out more about the Recycling & Waste Management Exhibition visit http://www.rwmexhibition.co.uk/
BMRB Telephone Omnibus Survey Questions and Responses
1. Which kind of household waste collection would you prefer?
12% - One wheelie bin for all waste
25% - One wheelie bin for recycling and another for remaining waste
62% - Separate bins/containers for different materials, for example glass, paper, plastics, metals etc
1% - Don’t know
2. Which do you think is the best environmental option?
4% - One wheelie bin for all waste
14% - One wheelie bin for recycling and another for remaining waste
81% - Separate bins/containers for different materials, for example glass, paper, plastics, metals etc
1% - Don’t know
3. Which of the following best describes how frequently you would like your recycling and waste collected from your household?
8% - Everything twice a week
66% - Everything weekly
8% - Everything fortnightly
17% - Alternate weekly – that’s one week recycling and the other week residual waste
1% - Everything monthly
1% - Don’t know
4. What is a fair price to pay for your recycling and waste collection per week?
59% - Nothing
14% - £1-2
11% - £3-5
1% - £6-8
2% - £9-11
0% - £12-£16
0% - £17-£20
12% - Don’t know
5. Do you think people should be fined if they refuse to recycle? (for example do you think people should be fined for exceeding their council’s limit for non-recyclable waste, or deliberately putting unsorted or non-recyclable waste into their recycling bin?)
58% - Yes
39% - No
3% - Don’t know
6. If you agree that people should be fined for not recycling, how much do you think is a reasonable fine for each offence?
67% - Up to £50
17% - £51-£100
5% - £101-£200
1% - £201-£300
1% - £301-£500
1% - £501-£1000
1% - More than £1000
6% - Don’t know
7. Which of the following are problems in your neighbourhood?
43% - Dog fouling
43% - Litter
27% - Flytipping
36% - Lack of recycling or litter bins
32% - Chewing gum on pavements
21% - None of these
Explomarket Ltd Local Authority Survey Questions and Responses:
1. How frequently should local authorities collect householders’ recycling and waste?
3% - Twice a week
41% - Weekly
35% - Fortnightly
21% - Alternate weekly
0% - Monthly
2. What, in your view, would be a fair price to pay for recycling and waste collections per week?
24% - No charge
36% - £1-2
19% - £3-5
4% - £6-8
1% - £9-11
3% - £12-£16
2% - More than £16
11% - Don’t know
3. Do you think people should be fined if they refuse to recycle (using kerbside collection facilities provided by the local authority)?
64% - Yes
34% - No
2% - Don’t know
4. If you agree that people should be fined for not recycling, in which of the following bands would, in your view, lie a reasonable fine?
61% - Up to £50
22% - £51-£100
6% - £101-£200
3% - £201-£300
5% - Over £300
3% - Don’t know
5. Which of the following are problems in your neighbourhood?
40% - Dog fouling
47% - Litter
51% - Flytipping
16% - Lack of recycling or litter bins
40% - Chewing gum on pavements
2% - None of these