Brits’ efforts to be better people hindered by recycling uncertainty

Tetra Pak launches interactive recycling map to help people recycle cartons
As a nation we hold recyclers in high esteem, with two fifths (45%) of Britons suggesting those who recycle are ‘better people’. As a result, many confess that they over-egg their own recycling habits, with one in five people (21%) confessing to exaggerating about how often they recycle.

The new research, commissioned by Tetra Pak, uncovers the nation’s recycling habits, with the aim of finding ways to help us all recycle more.

The research also reveals that more than half (51%) of the population think it is important to appear to be doing the right thing in front of friends, colleagues and family members.  A further 84% of people confess to taking note of their neighbours’ recycling habits.

Additionally, the research shows that many of us are willing to stretch the truth when it comes to recycling. Over half of those surveyed (57%) admit to doing things to make themselves look more environmentally friendly.  This includes putting the recycling bin out when it’s empty purely for show, instructing others to use recycling bags when they don’t themselves, and telling people they recycle when they don’t.

The research also uncovers confusion when it comes to recycling. Almost one-in-five (19%) of those questioned admit to not recycling regularly because they aren’t sure about how and where to recycle their packaging.  In fact, it seems a lack of understanding about what to recycle has resulted half the nation (55%) skipping a recycling opportunity. Another third (33%) say uncertainty has led to occasions where they put all of their waste into the recycling bin without really knowing what can and can’t be recycled.

To help remove some of the questions around recycling and make it easier to recycle cartons, Tetra Pak has launched a new interactive map to help people find information about the carton recycling facilities in their local area.

Gavin Landeg, Environment Manager, Tetra Pak UK and Ireland commented on the research and launch of the new interactive recycling map: “We undertook this research as we really wanted to understand the nation’s recycling habits so we could help people recycle more. What is clear from the research is that we all have the best intentions to recycle. We deem it an important part of our everyday lives and see it as a sign of being a good person.

“However, there is uncertainty when it comes to how, where and what can be recycled, with the options available for recycling cartons and other packaging not always being obvious to the general public. Tetra Pak has an objective to double carton recycling and we’re working hard to help make it easy for consumers to do this. As part of this effort, we’ve developed an easy to use interactive map which allows Britons to quickly see how and where they can recycle their cartons in their area.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of people polled said they think the focus on the environment and climate will become more important, which is why we want to enable consumers to feel confident they are doing all they can when it comes to recycling.”

The study also highlighted that our dedication to the recycling cause wavers from home to the office, with over half (57%) of Britons admitting to recycling more in the workplace than they do at home. Peer-pressure in the office also appears to be felt most acutely by men – with 67% of men claiming they are more likely to recycle in the office because they are surrounded by peers and want to be seen as a responsible recycler, compared to 51% of women.

Tetra Pak’s recycling map can be found at