According to a survey conducted on behalf of Business Waste, the malaise appears both domestically and among British business, meaning that the country as a whole is struggling to reach its recycling targets.
"We hear the same question time and again – 'Why should we recycle? It's a rip-off'" said Mark Hall of Business Waste, "And it's most disappointing when it comes from leaders of well-respected companies."
According to the figures:
- 32% of householders said they don't believe recycling helps
- Of this 32%, half (48%) recycled anyway to keep out of trouble from local council inspectors
- 29% of company directors said they didn't think recycling their waste was economically viable
- Of this 29%, more than half recycled anyway (62%) to comply with regulations
"Directors of some companies tell us that the staff costs relating to their waste policy outweighs the money saved from cutting their landfill tax and waste removal fees," said Mark who continued "If that's the case, they're probably doing it wrong." Hall says that a simple consultation and free waste audit can help slash recycling costs dramatically, and prove that it isn't the 'scam' that some directors think.
Equally worrying are the millions who don't recycle their household refuse, either because they think it's a waste of time, or because they're too lazy.
Typical of this attitude was Kym from Hampshire who said: "We've got two bins, but I put the same in both. Who cares? It's a waste [sic!] of time and effort and I've never been caught." Steve from Great Yarmouth said: "I can't be bothered – it's just a scam foisted on us by Brussels. I take my empties to the bottle bank, but that's as far as it goes."
Unfortunately, these people do not realise that recycling has a positive effect on both our environment and our economy. Mark Hall mused that: "The trouble is, people would rather listen to politicians with an agenda than the accepted science."
One study earlier this year showed that 99% of all peer-reviewed scientific papers on climate change showed that the phenomenon is man-made; while government figures show that UK recycling rates have stalled and that landfill sites across the country are either full or have only space for a few more years.
"Our landfill sites are bursting at the seams and contribute to long-term pollution and contamination of ground water. Recycled waste has the potential to save British industry millions in raw material costs. But still some people won't listen."
"It's clear that recycling is not a scam or a trick," says Hall, "The real problem now is convincing the refuseniks who think they know better."