People would generally be opposed to being charged for producing non-recyclable rubbish, according to a new report from the MORI Social Research Institute. Many are worried about 'stealth' taxes, but they are more likely to accept the idea if certain conditions are met.
The report, 'Public Attitudes Towards Recycling and Waste Management', feeds into the review of the UK Waste Strategy by the Government's Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office.
Initial reactions to the idea of charging are generally negative — many are concerned about tax increases. However, people are more accepting on this point under certain circumstances and reassurances which, taken together, form their conditions of acceptance.
One of the main conditions of acceptance is that before any charge is introduced the facilities to recycle must be in place and clearly working. People feel it would be unfair to burden residents with additional charges before they had the chance to recycle voluntarily.
There is also support for the 'polluter pays principle', with recycling winning refunds, and those who throw away recyclable material having to pay higher fees.
Any funds raised by charges should be spent locally on environmental or community initiatives. Similarly, charging for supermarket plastic bags may be acceptable if the money raised is hypothecated.
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MORI undertook a review of existing public opinion research into waste and recycling alongside a series of focus groups in four locations across Britain from 17th-23rd September 2002.