Recycling in Newham
Research into behaviour that leads to contamination of recycling 15 September 2016

Earlier this year, Keep Britain Tidy conducted a research project for the London Borough of Newham to help understand why some residents put the wrong items in their recycling bin. Newham has an ongoing problem with contamination of recycling and maintains a low overall recycling rate. The aim of the research was to better understand the barriers to recycling correctly, explore how these barriers can be overcome, and gain valuable feedback on how to communicate effectively with residents.


Five focus groups were held across the borough and 55 Newham residents attended to discuss their awareness of the recycling service and materials collected, their recycling habits and behaviour, and thoughts on how Newham Council should communicate with them about recycling. The results were compiled into a report along with a set of key recommendations for Newham Council.    


Jon Hastings, Waste Reduction and Disposal Manager for Newham Council said:


“Keep Britain Tidy exhibited a great deal of expertise in putting together the focus group research project for us, adapting to fit in with our wishes and requirements while providing us with advice on how best to approach the project and tackle certain issues. The focus groups were a huge success, being well-attended and full of frank and constructive discussions with residents from our community who do not usually engage in such research.  The project has provided us with feedback and insight that has been invaluable in shaping a new recently-launched recycling campaign that we expect to be more impactful than the off-the-shelf initiatives we had tried previously.”


If you’re interested in strategies to reduce recycling contamination, please contact Dr. Anna Scott, Waste Services Manager on 020 74204407 or email