Four-In-Five Worried About Britain’s “Soaring” Waste

Almost four-in-five Britons admit that they are concerned about the amount of waste produced in the UK, data from a new poll has revealed.

Asked in a Populus survey of 2,000 UK adults to mark the start of Zero Waste Week (Sept 4-Sept 8) 77% said they were either concerned or very concerned that Britain’s waste is “soaring”, the campaign has said. Just 7% say they are not at all concerned.

Pensioners are more likely to be concerned about household waste levels than those in any other age category. Some 85% of people aged 65 and over are concerned about the amount of waste they produce compared to less than three-quarters of people aged between 25 and 34.

People in Eastern England (82%) are the most likely to express concerns about the amount of waste that is thrown away, while those living in the North East are the least likely (70%).

The survey also revealed that women are more anxious than men about waste, with almost 8 in 10 (79%) females expressing concerns.

“We would like to see public concerns over waste translated into decisive action such as less litter, more recycling, and less food waste.”

The poll was commissioned by environmental campaign group Zero Waste Week, which marks its tenth year this year. Founded in 2008 Zero Waste Week is an annual awareness campaign aiming to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill.

Zero Waste Week Founder Rachelle Strauss said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Great British Public is growing more and more concerned by the amount of waste that ends up in landfill or at the bottom of the ocean.

“This year millions of people around the world are coming together to reduce waste through reuse, recycling and repurposing material so that it can be used for as long as possible.

“It’s vital that businesses, Governments and citizens come together in a bid to call time on the ticking time-bomb that is household waste.”

Dr Karl Williams, Head of the Centre for Waste Management at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “A recent survey has revealed that the vast majority of Brits do care about the amount of waste they produce and what happens to it.

“It’s vital that Government and industry work together to give consumers the ability to reuse reduce and recycle the waste they produce.”

Chris Murphy, Deputy Chief Executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, said: “This poll reveals that Brits are becoming increasingly anxious about the amount of waste they throw away.

“We would like to see public concerns over waste translated into decisive action such as less litter, more recycling, and less food waste.”

Populus surveyed 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ between 29-30 August 2017. Data were weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of British adults.

Despite the apparent concerns of those surveyed, official Defra data shows a decline in waste collected from households in England since 2000/01. In 2015/16, 23,449 tonnes of “total household” waste was collected by local authorites, compared to 25,079 tonnes collected in 2000/01.

Since 2012/13, however, “total household” waste collected by councils has been steadily increasing. In 2012/13, at its lowest point, waste collected from households was 22,580 tonnes, compared with 23,449 in 2015/16.

Total kg of waste collected per household has increased to 564kg in 2015/16 when compared to its lowest point in 2012/13 (551kg). This, however, is still almost 50% less than that collected in 2000/01, which amounted to 1046kg.

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