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Young adults ‘unconfident’ about recycling

Research by DS Smith in the UK suggests younger people are less confident than older citizens about recycling.

A survey commissioned by the sustainable packaging solutions, paper products and recycling specialist found that, although the so-called Gen Z are often considered to be the most environmentally conscious, they have the least certainty when it comes to recycling. Gen Z people are those born between the mid to late 1990s and the early 2010s.

The survey showed that they are less confident on what packaging can be recycled (66%) than over 55s (81%), and twice as likely not to know where to find advice on recycling (11%), compared to just 4% of over 55s. Two thirds of Gen Z respondents (67%) blame barriers to recycling in the UK, compared to 41% of over 55s, suggesting that changes to the UK recycling infrastructure may be needed to improve recycling among the younger generation. They cite confusion over what recyclable items go into which bins (20%) and not enough recycling bins from local authorities (16%) as issues.

‘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,’ says Rogier Gerritsen, md at DS Smith Recycling. ‘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.’

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