New charter asks English and Northern Irish LAs to publish end destinations of recyclables collected from residents

A voluntary Charter aimed at informing the public about where their recycled materials end up has been released today (7 June) by the Resource Association with support from the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Executive.

The ‘End Destinations of Recycling Charter’ will seek signatories from local authorities (LAs) in England and Northern Ireland who are willing to provide publically accessible information on the names and locations of the end destinations of recyclables collected from residents. It is hoped that this information will be published in public Registers of End Destinations of Recyclates by June 2013.

The charter was commissioned by the Resource Association in support with LARAC, after a public survey undertaken by the Resource Association and YouGov plc between April and May 2012 showed that 73 per cent of people did not know the exact end locations of their recyclables, and 68 per cent of people thought that there should be more information available to the public about their recyclables’s end destinations.


Defra Waste Minister, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, commended the charter, saying: “Everyone knows that recycling their rubbish is the right thing to do, but most people are completely unaware of what happens to their recycling after they put it out for collection. This new charter developed by the Resource Association and LARAC provides people with the answers and will hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to recycle more."

Of the 2078 adults polled in the ‘Where does recycling go?’ survey, 32 per cent of people said that they would be ‘much more likely or more likely to recycle’ if more information about end destinations was made available to them. Currently, only 17 per cent of the 351 English and Northern Irish local authorities have information regarding the end destinations of recyclable materials available on their websites (according to an in-house Resource Association survey).

“Local authorities know that waste and recycling is a service about which residents have strong opinions and perceptions, both positive and negative. In LARAC’s view, greater transparency will boost the public’s trust in recycling, address some of the inaccurate perceptions about where recyclable materials end up, and help local authorities to be confident in the service they provide”, said LARAC Chair, Joy Blizzard. “We welcome this chance to work with all the players involved to provide a robust picture of what happens to the recyclable materials collected from householders.”

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have also added their support for the initiative. Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s Chief Executive, stated that the Charter will also help further WRAP’s work to provide the public with full disclosure on their recycling services: “A pledge to ‘collect as many materials for recycling as possible and explain what happens to them’ is enshrined in the Waste Collection Commitment developed by WRAP and the LGA.  So far, more than 100 local authorities have signed up to the Commitment and this Charter will further help local authorities to enhance the service they offer to their residents."

While the Charter is aimed primarily at local authorities in England and Northern Ireland, any councils in Scotland and Wales that wish to indicate their support will be welcomed to sign the Charter. The Scottish and Welsh governments are already making arrangements with their local authorities to publish information on the end destinations of local household recyclates.

The End Destinations of Recycling Charter, a list of the founder signatories and more information can be found at the Resource Association website.