‘Binboozled’ young people in the UK lack the confidence and understanding of the older generation when it comes to recycling, according to new research.
Gen Z are often considered to be the most environmentally conscious of all age groups but new data reveals a surprising generational gap is emerging.
Younger Brits are less confident on what packaging can be recycled (66 per cent) than over 55s (81 per cent).
And they’re also twice as likely not to know where to find advice on recycling (11 per cent), compared to just four per cent of over 55s.
New data from DS Smith, a leading provider of sustainable fibre-based packaging worldwide, revealed the findings and recycling managing director Rogier Gerritsen has urged local authorities to improve the complicated structure currently in place.
He said: “With the UK setting ambitious targets for paper and card recycling over the next decade, it’s time to re-think our approach to recycling.
“There is no doubt that people want to play their part in helping the environment. The challenge is making things as simple as possible to enable people to do so.
“Continued collaboration between policy makers, local authorities and the recycling sector is key to make sure we have a recycling infrastructure that makes it easy for consumers to understand.”
Two thirds of Gen Z respondents (67 per cent) blamed barriers to recycling in the UK, compared to 41 per cent of over 55s, for their confusion – suggesting changes to recycling infrastructure may be needed to improve the situation.
Confusion over what recyclable items go into which bins, not enough recycling bins from local authorities and complicated packaging labels were also identified as factors behind the younger generation’s struggles.
Regional recycling gaps were also revealed in the government’s recent waste statistics, which made clear that England has failed to meet the target of recycling 50% of waste from households by 2020.
Gerritsen added: “To boost recycling and help us deliver on our targets, the system needs to be simplified, with consistent collection systems and proper segregation of materials at kerbside.
“Not only would this give consumers clarity and help to increase the volume of recycling, it would help protect the quality of paper and card destined for recycling, meaning more material staying in use for longer.”