A recent study by BMi Research Consumer Division has shown that upmarket consumers still recycle out of obligation and those at the bottom end still do it for the financial rewards. It concludes that more recycling initiatives and consumer education is needed.
Recycling where waste is reprocessed, reused or recovered to protect resources and reduce landfills, needs government involvement, but all consumers should try to participate in the reduction of waste by recycling. This remains a challenge as there are no formalised systems in place in South Africa to force consumers to recycle or separate waste.
This explorative study, which used qualitative and quantitative methods, was done on a small sample to check if consumer attitudes, behaviour and concerns about recycling have changed, said Leanne Freeman of the BMi Research Consumer Division. It also explored the drivers and barriers towards recycling, tested the understanding of consumers about waste management and household recycling behaviours, categorised consumer perceptions about waste and recycling and explored ideologies about recycling.
Lack of knowledge and awareness
Key findings were that recycling is hampered by lack of knowledge and awareness of recycling points as well as insufficient collection points, insufficient awareness of responsibility for recycling and a high demand for consumers and organisations to be educated about recycling.
"Consumers have a basic knowledge of recycling and still care about it despite the difficult economic times that we live in; however, they believe that more initiatives will make it second nature for communities. Consumers are also trying to save money in a difficult economy by recycling," Freeman said.
While respondents indicated that individuals and their communities are responsible for recycling, they hope that recycling initiatives at schools will filter through to communities and that organisations will accept more responsibility for recycling because they are producing more waste.
Convenience an important factor
The large gap between attitudes towards recycling was highlighted by the fact that more recycling points are available in suburban areas while townships had hardly any. Convenience is an important factor in recycling behaviour and attitudes and if consumers have to walk far through dangerous areas to recycle, they will choose not to.
"Although the research showed both positive and negative attitudes to recycling in South Africa, it confirmed that the negative attitudes can be converted to positive contributions with more education and accessibility to collection points for waste," Freeman concluded.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.