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What Consumers Want: 7 key research insights on engaging consumers in recycling

Published in 2020 by

Type of document: Communication / Awareness Raising

Understanding what information consumers respond to - and how they behave - is essential to get consumers recycling more often. This document draws on four major pieces of consumer insight research undertaken for OPRL Ltd (the UK's on-pack recycling label) by Tangible Branding, a consumer research company.

This extensive body of work, undertaken in the UK using a variety of online and face-to-face methods between April 2017 and October 2019, is distilled into 7 key insights.

Further information

The research examines people's motivations, information sources, thought processes and behaviours to see how good recycling habits can be formed - and the challenges in breaking 'bad' habits. On-pack labelling is an important element but must be seen within a wider communications and educational context. The effectiveness of the prompt given by on-pack labelling at the point of disposal is dependent on the clarity and consistency of the messaging, with multiple marques purporting to indicate recyclability causing confusion. Actionable information is essential, as confirmed by UNEP/Consumers International work on Standards, Labels and Claims on Plastic Packaging (Can I Recycle This? May 2020). Messaging must match consumer understanding, using their language rather than that of industry professionals, and match context ie home or on-the-go recycling. Colour coding and imagery is also important.