A new global survey was released on 18 November courtesy of the World Economic Forum in partnership with SAP and Qualtrics. It asked 11,500 people from all over the world about their recycling and sustainability habits, preferences and wider attitudes towards addressing the major problems involving waste generation.
Its results show that awareness and engagement on these issues is real and growing. 64% of people worldwide believe that they have a personal responsibility to act on climate change by living more sustainably. 84% of people feel that it is extremely important for them to recycle whenever they can.
With these levels of willingness, why are recycling and circular economy practices still so marginal in practice? The survey shows that the top barrier worldwide is the lack of established programmes and services. This was the main reason cited by 42% globally, while 25% said the biggest problem was not knowing how to participate in recycling, 16% felt it was too inconvenient, and 15% expressed a lack of trust in recycling programmes to achieve tangible green results.
The Middle East was broadly in line with these global sentiments. The split on the perceived top barriers to recycling by ME respondents was as follows:
Lack of programmes/services – 40%
Not knowing how to participate – 33%
Too inconvenient – 14%
Lack of trust in recycling programmes (to achieve results) – 12%
While the lack of programmes remains the top barrier to effective recycling in the Middle East, there’s also a clear issue around public awareness too. A full 8% more people than the global average chose this as their biggest barrier. So, while there needs to be more ways open to ME citizens to recycle and live sustainably, there also needs to be greater engagement with the public on how they can get involved.