With over 5,000 participants, WRAP publish their biggest recycling tracker survey to date

24 September 2019

The Recycling Tracker is an annual survey of UK households that gathers evidence on recycling attitudes, knowledge and behaviours. It is the largest and longest running of its kind, having been undertaken by WRAP since 2004.

This year, we have the largest sample of people taking part, a total of 5,452 online interviews were undertaken in March 2019.

The results in 2019 point to a series of changes in the past year, including: -

·         A significant increase in recognition of Recycle Now Swoosh (from 45% in 2018 to 75% now)

·         Over the past year three in five (60%) UK households report extra recycling of one or more items (including 32% who say they have started to recycle new items and 34% who say that they have increased their recycling of an existing item).

·         Just over half of UK households (51%) dispose of one or more items in the general rubbish that are collected for recycling in their area.

·         One in four UK households say they have been recycling more food waste in the past year.

·         68% of households having received information from their council in 2018 versus 59% in 2017. 

The tracker also shows that social norms are strongly associated with positive recycling behaviour, those who perceive a positive social norm dispose of more items correctly. This year we are thrilled to report that when UK households recognised the Recycle Now brand there is a positive association with reported behaviour change, particularly with those who have seen the recently launched: -

·         ‘Britain Recycles’ - 79% of this group say they are recycling more

·         ‘Britain Does’ - 74% of this group say they are recycling more

In addition, for those who have seen/heard of ‘Recycle Week’, 77% of this group say they are recycling more; and for those who have seen recycling information via social media, 75% of this group say they are recycling more.

Peter Maddox, WRAP Director said We should never shy away from constantly banging the drum for household recycling. It is hugely important to the health of the planet because small actions by a large number of people do make a difference. What you do influences your friends, family and neighbourhoods. We all take cues from others so the more of us that take recycling into our own hands – the more will join us”.

This year during Recycle Week, Recycle Now and some of the UK’s biggest brands and retailers plus hundreds of local authorities are joining forces to help the nation take recycling into their own hands.

Craig Stephens, Campaign Manager for Recycle Now said “This year we want to inspire people to take recycling into their own hands. We know there is a great deal of enthusiasm and the public want to do as much as they can. We fully support this and want to use Recycle Week to inspire people to take recycling into their own hands and take action!”

“Recycle Week is the perfect opportunity to remind people why recycling is worth it, It’s great to see the social norming approach working and that’s why it’s so important that all organisations who talk to the public about recycling adopt this approach” continued Stephens  “and this year, more than ever, we have people’s attention”.


Notes to Editor

Tracker Survey Report - here

Recycle Week Partners include:

Unilever, Evian, Danone, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Morrisons, Britvic, Innocent, Boots, Ella’s Kitchen, Kimberly Clarke, Robinson Squash, Highland Springs, Fruit Shoot, Purdey’s, J2O, Aqua Libra, Tango, Coca Cola, Pepsi Co, Ecover and Method.

About Recycle Week

Recycle Week is the UK’s annual event to build awareness of, and encourage increased participation in, recycling behaviour. It is organised by WRAP under the Recycle Now brand and will take place this year in the last week of September (23rd – 29th September).

About Recycle Now:

Pioneers of a new normal. Experienced doers. And passionate leaders of the UK’s recycling movement. At Recycle Now, we work collaboratively with the UK’s biggest business and local authorities across the nation, to realise our vision of a future where recycling is the new normal. 

About WRAP:

WRAP is not for profit, working with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which we source and use resources sustainably. Our experts generate the evidence-based solutions we need to protect the environment, build stronger economies and support more sustainable societies. Our impact spans the entire lifecycle of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the products we buy, from production to consumption and beyond. @WRAP_UK

Much of the reported increases in recycling are accepted in the local collection. The only exceptions are textiles, batteries, small electrical items and plastic film/wrappers - where the majority of the extra recycling is not targeted.