- A recent survey conducted in England by research firm ICM Unlimited found that residents might increase their participation in local recycling programs if they know more about where the material is going and what it is being used to make, as reported by Resource.
- Of the 1,771 people surveyed in June, 77% said they didn't know where their recycling went after collection. Among the respondents, 60% didn't know what their recyclables were turned into.
- About two-thirds of respondents said households should have more information about the destination of their materials and 44% said this would encourage them to recycle more. This number was 57% for people in the 18-34 age range.
England's recycling rates have stalled or declined in recent years and contamination rates are up, as the country saw an 84% increase in the amount of contaminated material between 2011 and 2015. In some cases residents have even become violent when collection workers try to communicate these issues at the curb.
Some local authorities have already begun to publish data about where their recyclables go as part of a voluntary "end destination" charter. The U.K. charity Waste and Resources Action Programme is currently promoting its 13th annual "Recycle Week" and this includes more information on the benefits of recycling.
Companies and local governments have also been experimenting with new education methods in the U.S. where participation rates vary. While information on the general process of recycling can be found online, the details are different depending on location and customers may not know how to understand what they find. While the exact destination or use of recyclables will change depending on market conditions and other factors, it's important to help demystify the process if that means increasing participation.