Britain has a new generation of green bloomers, with the vast majority of parents (80%) noticing that their youngest child has already started recycling used materials – according to data from OnePoll, commissioned by Tetra Pak.
The research also found that it’s the youngest children who are really driving this environmental awareness.
More than 65% of parents believe children first become aware of recycling between the ages of four and six, with this figure dropping dramatically as they approach the age of ten.
The age at which parents think children first become aware of recycling:
4 – 23.9%
5 – 21.5%
6 – 19.7%
7 – 12.2%
8 – 8.6%
9 – 1.9%
10+ – 7.2%
Not at all – 4.7%
The research also found that green bloomers are putting their parents to shame when it comes to recycling:
- More than one in three (35%) children pester their parents about doing more recycling at home
- More than half of parents (53%) wish they were taught as much about the environment and recycling when they were growing up
Tetra Pak did, however, discover that nearly half of parents have noticed their kids recycling cartons.
According to leading child psychologist, Elizabeth Kilbey: “As most parents know, it can be very difficult to get children to do what adults tell them – so the fact that 80% are recycling is really surprising/great news.
“But once they start showing positive behaviours, rewards or praise from teachers and parents can help to reinforce these habits.
“There is another important factor here: children start school aged four and five.
“They will be learning the foundation stage curriculum, which will be teaching them about the environment and how to take care of it. Recycling is a hot topic at school, particularly for the younger pupils who can get really involved in many of the recycling tasks around school.
“Not only are very high numbers of children engaging in recycling themselves, just over a third of them are taking the message home and changing the behaviour of their family members.
“So they aren’t just following school rules, but are really taking the message to heart, having understood its importance. The decision to change the behaviour of others to support ‘the greater good’ is sophisticated, particularly for younger children.”
Rupert Maitland-Titterton, Environment and Communications Director at Tetra Pak said:
“We’re delighted that more and more people are making recycling an everyday habit.
“Our research has found that kids are starting to pick up the habit at a young age – with some even nagging their parents to do more. At Tetra Pak we’re doing everything we can to make carton recycling as easy as possible for consumers – whatever their age!”
The latest figures from Tetra Pak and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE UK) show that 88% of Local Authorities collect Cartons for recycling and 135 in total now collect beverage cartons for recycling from the kerbside, bringing the total figure to 33% or one in three nationally.
Tetra Pak cartons are made primarily (on average 73%) from a natural, renewable resource – wood, in the form of paperboard.
Over 1.5 billion Tetra Pak cartons in the UK and Ireland are made using FSC(Forest Stewardship Council) certified board. Cartons are also widely recyclable across the UK and Tetra Pak is also a member of the WWF’s Climate Savers Programme.
By publishing this research Tetra Pack hope to inspire brands to buy into recyclable materials, even if their main target market are children, as their early learning of recycling could effect long term product purchasing decisions.
Interested in the importance of packaging in the food and drink industry? The Food and Drink Innovation Network is hosting a Putting Packaging at the Heart of NPD seminar on the 16th June. For more information click here for more information or to book a place.