Wales

Push to improve recycling habits among young people

Recycling Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Almost a third of younger people are not confident in their recycling capabilities,

Recycling habits must improve to avoid contaminated waste and those aged 18 to 34 are the worst offenders, new data has shown.

More than 25% admitted putting items in the recycling bin hoping they were recyclable rather than being certain.

Recycling containing non-recyclable items or soiled recyclables may have to be thrown out with general waste.

"We all get things wrong from time to time - but a little bit of effort can go a long way," Recycle for Wales said.

Last month, it was announced the target for 64% of waste to be recycled in Wales by 2019-20 had been met four years early.

Even though Wales is second in Europe and third in world recycling league tables, Recycle for Wales said it should aim to be number one.

There is pressure in growing cities like Cardiff to keep up with targets.

Across the UK, 3,329 people were interviewed about their recycling habits, including 650 from Wales.

Recycle for Wales campaign manager Angela Spiteri said: "Increasing the amount of items that go into recycling instead of landfill will have a huge effect on the environment."

Young people and recycling

18 to 34-year-olds surveyed

  • 42% not confident they are getting it right

  • 28% not sure what they put in the recycling bin is recyclable

  • 19% admit not putting much thought into what they throw in the bin

  • 19% don’t check what their local recycling guidelines are

The research says 42% of 18 to 34-year-olds aspire to being good recyclers, but are not confident they are getting things right.

Almost a third (30%) are not confident in their recycling capabilities, with 28% admitting they were not sure what they put in the recycling bin was recyclable.

A further 19% said they did not put much thought into what they throw in the bin; the same number do not check what their local recycling guidelines are.

The data is being released at Festival no.6 in Portmeirion, Gwynedd, in an effort to raise recycling awareness among younger people.

Recycle for Wales said if everyone at the festival recycled one can of glitter spray, dry shampoo or deodorant it would save enough energy to power the lighting on the main stage for a week.

Recycling 'important but can be difficult'

Image caption Ellen Joslyn says she is sometimes short of time, but recycling is second nature

Ellen Joslyn, 33, from Usk, Monmouthshire, said: "The confusion lies sometimes in knowing what item will go in what box.

"Some packages are made up of cardboard, foil and plastic and you don't know where you're going to pop it, so sometimes it will just go in the one sack in my case and you hope for the best."

As a police officer, on maternity leave looking after her five-week-old baby and a toddler, she said she was sometimes short of time when it comes to recycling.

"It's become part of my everyday life.

"I'll rinse out a yoghurt pot after I've fed the eldest child, that's fine, but when you're trying to make a decision as to what goes in which bag, you're rushing around because there are two children, one's crying, it just goes in perhaps without much thought sometimes, but the rest of it has become second nature."

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