Children push parents on recycling


A survey of parents has found that a proportion of school-aged children are driving recycling and sustainable thinking in households.

A poll, by the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) found that 41% of parents believe that its their children pushing for recycling at home while 43% claim that they had a “telling off” from their offspring for not making more of an effort on recycling.

Of those told off, 56% have been reprimanded for throwing something like a can in the bin instead of recycling it, while four in 10 have had words for buying items in non-recyclable packaging.

A total of 2,000 parents were polled, via OnePoll, and the results also found:

  • 35% are happy to admit their offspring care more about recycling than they do themselves;
  • 35% have been reprimanded by youngsters for not washing out cans or jars properly before putting them out with the recycling;
  • seven in 10 blame their own confusion about what can and can’t be recycled for their fall outs with their children;
  • 45% are influenced by their children to ‘think green’ when food shopping, with more than half encouraged by their offspring to buy items in packaging like cans or cardboard;
  • 10% admitted to being more likely to throw a can into the bin than recycling it;
  • 46% have binned a can because they couldn’t be bothered to wash it out.

Robert Fell, chief executive and director of the MPMA, said: “Recycling has come on in leaps and bounds even in the last few years – things that weren’t able to be recycled by councils are now much more widely re-usable. Because of this, children now learning about how to be green at school, and figures like Greta Thunberg proving popular, many youngsters know more about recycling than their parents.

“It’s great to see that so many parents are being picked up on things they may not be doing correctly when it comes to recycling – even if it is by their children.

“Children are very enthusiastic about the environment and it could be an opportunity for people to learn more about what they can be doing more of to improve their recycling – even if it’s as simple as remembering to recycle a can instead of just throwing it away.”

Fell added: “Even now, there’s a lot of confusion among consumers about what counts as recyclable waste. Things like cans of paint, old technology like phones and keyboards, and even trays from fruit punnets leave millions in a flap.

This is why it’s so important that the younger generation keeps up their interest in helping save the planet – beginning with their own homes.”