Government plans for 'zero waste economy' at risk due to Am I bovvered? attitude across UK
PRESS RELEASES | December 6, 2013

Government plans for 'zero waste economy' at risk due to Am I bovvered? attitude across UK

London, 31st October 2013 - A new study released today by Greenredeem, the company that rewards people for everyday green actions, shows that being green to help the planet is still not enough of an incentive for millions of Brits to change their ways. A quarter of Brits surveyed (25%) claim to be concerned about the environmental future of the planet, but not enough to motivate them to be green. Just under a third (29%) of people admit to not recycling as much waste as they could due to not being bothered, and a worrying minority (3%) admit to never having recycled.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs recently sounded a note of caution on recycling rates, admitting that the rate of increase has slowed down and that action may be needed to ensure that the government is on track[i] to meet its recycling targets. With two-thirds (64%) of Brits saying that the Government doesn't yet do enough to incentivise recycling, it's clear that current schemes to drive up recycling rates are not having the necessary consumer impact.

Over a quarter (27%) of British adults say that they do not recycle as they don't get anything out of it personally, with a similar proportion (24%) who claim that they would recycle more if they were to get something tangible back for it such as vouchers, money or money off goods and services. With three-quarters of adults (73%) believing that companies and central and local government should be rewarding people for green actions, leading environmental campaigners and Greenredeem believe that incentives are the answer.

Leading environmentalist, Tony Juniper, comments: "We are very far from where we need to be in reaching the goal of 'zero waste' that so many now believe is both possible and desirable to achieve. Part of the problem is down to the fact that a high proportion of people remain resistant to the notion of recycling, including because they see no personal benefit arising from it. To get into the modern league of top recyclers will require more than awareness and good facilities. Clearer incentives that make sense to those who are still reluctant would undoubtedly help."

"It's clear that across the UK, people are concerned about the environment, but these concerns aren't enough to get them to take real action," continues Rob Crumbie, communications director at Greenredeem. "We're relaunching today as Greenredeem to make it even easier for people to participate in green actions in their everyday lives and be instantly rewarded for it. Through our work we know that reward schemes can have real impact on driving green actions, with local councils seeing recycling rates increasing by up to three times the national average by offering the Greenredeem reward scheme to their residents."

Greenredeem offers people reward points in return for green actions, such as recycling at home and on-the-go or pledging to compost their tea bags rather than throw them away. These points can then be redeemed for national and local rewards such as 40% off holidays with Haven, money-off shopping at Marks & Spencer or a free coffee in a local cafe. Formerly known as Recyclebank, Greenredeem will now offer members new ways to redeem their points, such as printing rewards at home or redeeming on a new mobile app and even more ways to earn points for their green actions.

The plateau of recycling rates cannot be totally blamed on selfishness from Brits. The research highlights that over a third (37%) who don't recycle claiming that it's due to a lack of convenient facilities. Currently only a quarter (26%) of people will recycle their waste in recycling bins in their communities. This means that many people who do recycle at home are not transferring this behaviour when on the go, and this presents a clear opportunity for local governments to boost local recycling rates by offering more recycling facilities in high traffic locations such as high streets and local supermarkets.

Additionally, although many UK adults are recycling, it's clear that many of them could be recycling even more of their waste. While chefs like Jamie Oliver are encouraging people to "cook clever, shop smart and waste less", the Greenredeem study indicates that currently only half (54%) of British adults currently recycle their food waste. This leads to over 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink each year ending up in landfills when it could be recycled.

Crumbie adds: "Consumers do know that they should be doing more to help the environment, and that they just need a nudge to be reminded to do so. Many people already recycle and so we will also be using our rewards programme to encourage them to recycle even more, such as their uneaten food at home and their empty drinks bottles when on the go. At Greenredeem we're not only launching an easy to use rewards programme, but making it easier for people to recycle on the street as well through the Greenredeem kiosks installed in high footfall areas such as supermarket car parks across the UK. Our aim is to drive up recycling rates by encouraging more people to be more green wherever - at home and on the go - they are."

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For more information, to speak to a spokesperson from Greenredeem or to receive a copy of the Rewards & Recycling: How incentives may have the answer for a 'zero waste economy' in the UK report from Greenredeem, please contact:

Kayleigh Broddle

Hotwire PR for Greenredeem

0207 608 4640

About Greenredeem

Greenredeem is a UK company that rewards people for everyday green actions. As Recyclebank, Greenredeem has been working with local boroughs including Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham Borough Council, Halton Borough Council and Lambeth Council to reward local residents for recycling and other green activities. Greenredeem's scheme offers rewards from national and local businesses including Marks and Spencer, Haven Holidays, Jojo Maman Bebe, Planet Organic, Cineworld and many more. In addition to its local rewards programme, Greenredeem also works with companies like Unilever to deliver bespoke rewards schemes around CSR initiatives such as the recent 'From Cup to Compost' campaign with PG Tips to encourage people to compost or recycle their tea bags.

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