Floating voters drawn to recycling manifesto commitments

A survey of more than 1,000 UK adults conducted by climate action NGO WRAP has found that voters are more likely to vote for a political party if it includes policies on recycling and reuse in its manifesto.

Two in five (38%) of those surveyed want to see an expansion in the range of materials collected for recycling – a figure that rises to 46% in Scotland. For voters who base their decision on manifesto policies, 41% of these voters want to see recycling expanded. But it is voters who base their decisions on how the economy, the NHS and other key services are doing at the time of an election that are the keenest to see recycling commitments expanded, at 44% of those surveyed.

The survey also found that creating jobs in the recycling sector would be welcomed by around a third of voters, 31%. With over a quarter of people questioned (28%) also keen to see more jobs in product repair.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of WRAP said, “As we approach out twentieth annual Recycle Week, and with a general election on the horizon, we wanted to check how important recycling is among policy pledges. And the message is clear to all parties – positive news on expanding recycling would be well received by voters across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – particularly those who’ll decide how to vote based on what is happening at the time of the election, and who decide based on manifestos promises.” 

The people surveyed came from a cross section of the political spectrum in England, Wales and Scotland – from dyed in the wool party supporters to floating voters.

  • 27% said they always vote for the same party, 
  • 24% decide based on the policies in the parties’ manifestos, and
  • 32% base decisions on how well things are going with the economy and NHS etc.

The news comes as WRAP countdowns to the UK’s twentieth annual Recycle Week, which will take place between 16th-22nd October 2023. This year the theme is the Big Recycling Hunt and will focus on “missed capture” and items that can be recycled but are commonly missed in the home. Recycle Now, the WRAP campaign which organises the week, will be aiming to inspire children, families, and whole communities to get involved to find these hidden treasures.

WRAP also conducts an annual recycling tracker measuring insights into peoples’ attitudes and behaviours towards recycling – the largest and longest running survey of its kind; begun in 2004. The 2022 report shows that recycling is a very normalised behaviour with 90% of UK citizens regularly recycling. However, more than half of people still miss opportunities to recycle common items from home, with almost nine in ten (84%) disposing of an item in the recycling that is not accepted.

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