Thousands of tonnes of items that could be recycled are being thrown away in landfill sites every week because British householders rely too much on local authority schemes instead of seizing the initiative themselves, according to new research today. The study from the insurance group, Zurich , says on average people are recycling only half of their rubbish.
The study looked at attitudes to green issues and found mountains of re-usable waste were being buried in landfills or burned in incinerators. It says that each week Britons throw away enough cans to stretch from London to Sydney, as well as piles of boxes more than three times the length of the Great Wall of China, and enough plates of food to give every man, woman and child in Canada three square meals.
Researchers also found almost a quarter of people are aware they are throwing away items that could be reused but believe travelling to a recycling centre is too much trouble Most people are pleased with council initiatives but many people do not take up the opportunities to recycle that are available to them. Four out of ten people only recycle if items are collected from the doorstep. Of those who throw away recyclable items, one in eight say it is too much trouble to wash out containers and one in ten believe having to sort their waste is inconvenient.
The survey also found that although many people say they support supermarkets plans to charge for plastic bags, there is significant hostility to the move with a fifth of people disagreeing with the idea.
Andrew Jepp, Head of Local Government for Zurich,said,“This research clearly shows the green double standards of the average Briton. While people are in favour of recycling, we still throw away half of everything we use – largely because we think it is too much trouble to change our habits.”