Behavioural interventions can improve recycling rates in flats

A new report published by Resource London has highlighted various ways to improve recycling rates for people living in purpose-built flats. 

In their early analysis, Resource London found that recycling rates in 12 blocks of flats were a third lower than the average recycling rate throughout the rest of London.

Based on these findings, Resource London collaborated with the Housing Association Peabody and six local authorities in order to understand how to improve these rates.

Purpose-built flats make up 37% of London’s residential accommodation so the organisation says improving recycling rates from flats is an important step in increasing recycling rates throughout the whole city.

The researchers set out to understand the barriers to recycling and how solutions could be rolled out by housing providers, building managers and waste teams in order to improve recycling rates.

They found that effective recycling is only achieved when the residents are motivated to do so, when they understand what they can and can’t recycle and when recycling is made easier.

Resource London comprised a set of five behavioural interventions to address motivation and to make it easier for individuals to recycle.

As a result of the interventions, there was a 26% increase in recycling rates in the London flats, as well as a significant improvement in the contamination rate, which decreased by 24%.

Peabody’s chief executive, Brendan Sarsfield said: ‘Peabody is committed to working with our residents to improve our local environments.

‘We’ve been part of the design and delivery of this project, we have learned a great deal from it.

‘I firmly believe that housing providers should recognise that they have a pivotal role to play in improving the existing low recycling performance of flats.’

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: ‘This kind of innovation will help us to deliver on the aims of our landmark Resource and Waste Strategy which sets out how we will go further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle.

‘Our new Environment Bill will also allow us to stipulate the core materials which must be collected for recycling from households, including blocks of flats, such as plastics, glass and paper.’

‘I hope this report can help other local authorities to ramp up the quality and quantity of the materials they collect from blocks of purpose-built flats for recycling.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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