Children are shaming parents for bad recycling habits, survey claims

One in six parents believe children know more about recycling than they do

Richard Jenkins
Friday 15 March 2019 14:39
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Parents are being shamed by their own children for bad recycling practices, according to research.

A poll of 2,000 parents of children aged five to 18 found one in six believed their kids knew more about what can be recycled than they do.

And four in 10 have tried to throw something away, only to be caught out by a child who knew better.

A quarter of children have even pointed out good recycling habits at the supermarket, encouraging parents to take their own bags and buy loose fruit and veg.

The research was conducted by The Midcounties Co-operative, whose “1Change” strategy hopes to reduce the dependence on single-use plastic.

Mike Pickering, Co-operative social responsibility manager at The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “Reducing single-use plastic is a high priority for our 700,000 members, so we wanted to understand whether this desire was making its way to the next generation.

“Our results show, happily, that the mantle is also being passed down, with children showing real engagement in sustainable living – something we see regularly through our work with schools.”

From the survey responses, half of children who went shopping with their parents reminded them to bring a “bag for life” rather than using single-use carriers.

Two-thirds of parents that responded to the survey confessed to throwing something in the main bin because they could not be bothered to be environmentally friendly.

Recyclable materials that were most often binned by parents included fruit punnets, batteries and cling film.

When caught red-handed by their children, one in four parents who responded admitted to feeling ashamed by their own actions – but a fifth felt proud of their children for their green attitude.

The majority of parents credited their children’s school for educating them on sustainability and recycling.

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But three quarters of respondents admitted they “worry” about the state of the world they will leave behind for their children, according to the research.

And 63 per cent have made an active effort to cut down on their single-use plastic consumption in the last year.

Eight in 10 respondents also believed retailers have an obligation to do more to educate shoppers about recycling packaging and single-use plastic.

Mr Pickering added: “It’s up to all of us to make sure we’re doing our best when it comes to our purchasing habits and recycling.

“Through 1Change, the Society is working with schools to educate children about the environmental impact of single-use plastic. We’re seeking to engage with 50 schools through our ‘Plastic is not Fantastic’ education programme this year.”

He added: “We’re also removing single-use plastic carrier bags across our premium supermarkets by 2020 and, we’re committed to reduce waste through our operations by 20 per cent by 2022, while maintaining our recycling rate of 99 per cent.”

SWNS

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