The Recycling Tracker is an annual survey of UK households that gathers evidence on recycling attitudes, knowledge, and behaviour. ​It is the largest and longest running of its kind, having been undertaken by WRAP since 2004. ​

The survey uses boost sampling in Wales to provide a robust, enhanced sample of Welsh citizens. Fieldwork was undertaken online, from 20 - 30 March 2023. A total of 5,343 interviews were undertaken UK-wide with adults who have responsibility for dealing with the rubbish and recycling in the home. This included a sample of 1,004 adults in Wales. The sample matches the known profile of the Welsh population, with quotas set on age, gender and region.

The survey provides insights into Welsh citizens’ attitudes towards recycling, as well as a greater understanding of their recycling-related behaviours. It provides the sector with insights on the intended user of the recycling reforms, supporting governments, Local Authorities, and waste collectors with an understanding of the barriers and motivators that citizens face when participating in the system.

The tracker results demonstrate a number of key findings about recycling behaviour:

  • Recycling is an established behaviour in Wales, with over nine in ten (95%) Welsh citizens reporting that they regularly recycle.
  • Half (50%) are missing the opportunity to recycle one or more materials (80% if we include glass perfume/aftershave bottles).
  • Improvements in contamination demonstrate that there have been incremental improvements in recycling behaviour across Wales, which is also seen for the UK.
  • Currently, an average of 5.3 items are being disposed of incorrectly per Welsh citizen. This is a significant improvement compared to March 2021 (5.7). 
  • Three quarters (75%) of Welsh citizens have seen the Recycle Now ‘Swoosh’ logo in the past year, and 61% have seen On-Pack Recycling Labelling (OPRL). One third (30%) have seen the ‘Wales recycles’ logo, with the ‘Be Mighty’ logo seen by 4%. 
  • Food waste recycling continues to have a weaker norm compared to dry recycling.
  • In Wales, the vast majority (78%) have access to, and use a food waste recycling service[1]. A further one in five (19%) have a service but do not use it (including a relatively even split between those who tried but stopped using it (lapsed users) and those who never used it). A minority (4%) said they do not have a service.
  • Attitudes to food waste recycling were largely positive. Amongst other statements, 66% of Welsh citizens agreed that it is their ‘responsibility as citizens to recycle their food waste.
  • Smells (14%), leaks and spills (12%), as well as maggots / flies (11%) were the top three barriers reported by Welsh citizens who have access to a food waste recycling collection.
  • Finally, two in five (41%) Welsh citizens said they have heard something about the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in the UK although there is significant uncertainty around what the scheme will include.

[1] Please note that 99% of households have a food waste collection service in Wales. Source: How Wales became a world leader in recycling | GOV.WALES

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  • Wales Recycling Tracker Survey Spring 2023.

    PDF, 2.82 MB

  • Wales Recycling Tracker Survey Spring 2023 Summary.

    PDF, 796.22 KB