Keep Britain Tidy is to carry out a nationwide inquiry to find out why urban recycling rates remain comparatively low, on behalf of waste contractor SITA UK.
Starting next week, the charity, which is part-funded by Defra, will consult members of the public and waste industry experts on ways to improve recycling rates in urban areas, where historically the lowest recycling rates have been found.
In conjunction with consultation specialist BritainThinks, Keep Britain Tidy will host two separate two-day “Citizens’ Juries” in London on March 13-14 and in Manchester on March 26-27, with the hope of producing ‘real world’ outcomes with the help of practical advice from technical specialists.
The solutions devised at the events will be tested by a wider independent public poll of more than 1,000 people, and the outcomes of both studies are to be presented in a report and short film, both of which are expected to be released in June this year.
SITA UK has confirmed it will not play an active role in the events or poll to ensure impartiality is maintained.
In 2012/13, Liverpool city council, Southampton city council, Portsmouth city council and seven London boroughs were among the 20 bottom local authorities for recycling in England, each achieving an overall recycling and composting rate of between 20-25%.
Keep Britain Tidy and SITA UK fear that, as a result of poor performance in some areas, England will fail to meet the 50% statutory target mapped out by the EU Waste Framework Directive.
The partnership was also critical of the current government, stating that the withdrawal of funding and focus from sustainable resource use had left its future “in the hands of the waste management industry”.
Director of external affairs for SITA UK, Dr Gev Eduljee, said: “With government paring back its efforts in this area, it has placed the onus on industry to progress waste and resource policy in England.
“As a result, we have commissioned Keep Britain Tidy to undertake this study that seeks to find practical, solutions for people living and working in urban environments.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s campaigns and communications director Andy Walker, added: “Tackling waste is something in which the public has a big role to play but, all too often, debates about recycling do not include ordinary people. These juries are an opportunity for the man, or woman, on the street to have their say on an important issue that affects us all.”