Study: Public expresses concern at lack of recycling initiatives

  • 14th November 2018 at 12:20PM
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More than four out of ten (41%) UK adults say that there are insufficient incentives provided to recycle materials in their local area, according to new research.

In addition to this, the study ­- commissioned by technology company Yotta, also shows that just under one-third of the sample (31%) said smart schemes designed to incentivise recycling would improve the amount they recycle.

These include systems that identify types of waste and reward customers for correctly depositing it, or specialised bottle deposit machines, which allow consumers to claim a small sum on returns.

Coca Cola recently implemented this ‘VenCycling’ technology in China, and just 6% of the survey sample felt that smart schemes of this type would not improve the amount they recycle at all.

Steve White, software business development manager, Yotta, said: “The latest technology is likely to play a key role in supporting councils in adopting a smarter approach to recycling. We are seeing a raft of new initiatives coming on stream.

“Smart recycling bins are emerging that use sensors to monitor when they are full, and then trigger an automatic alert to warn the authorities to come and collect them,” White adds. “We have seen reverse vending machines gain traction in many countries around the world. Our survey indicates that there is an appetite for this kind of innovative approach to recycling in the UK.”

Looking at the broader community, there is also significant public concern around the provision of bins. More than a third of the survey sample (34%) said there were not enough bins provided in their locality. Added to that, nearly one in five people (17%) typically carry rubbish around with them – when walking in their local area – for more than half an hour before they are able to find a bin.

The survey also shows that the public have significant concerns about the cleanliness of the local environment. Just one in twenty (5%) of the public were prepared to describe the town or city in which they lived as ‘very clean’.

“Internet of Things-driven technology can help councils – at least in helping to ensure that when people find a bin it is available for use,” continues White. “On the one hand, it enables them to provide smart bins which facilitate more efficient rubbish collection and better availability for the public. On the other, it allows them to adopt a joined-up approach to green spaces management and street cleansing.

“It helps operatives work at optimum efficiency levels and facilitates closer engagement between the back office and those out in the field. We have seen the Royal Borough of Greenwich install 18 smart bins this summer, that feature sensor technology so it is only of matter of time before more councils adopt this technology focused approach. ”

Further highlighting the level of public concern about the environment in which they live, well over half of UK adults (56%) say they see incidences of fly-tipping in their local area at least sometimes, and a total of 13% claim they see this often.