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Age is no barrier to being green


Source: Materials Recycling Week

A green taskforce, made up of 10 old people from around the UK, has developed a set of recommendations to help reduce waste and promote reuse.

The Greener and Wiser taskforce has been supported by charities Age Concern and Help the Aged, think tank Green Alliance and Natural England.

It has been set up to increase the profile of older people’s views, aged between 52 and 90, in environmental decision-making and to address the practical challenges that older people face in making greener choices.

The taskforce wants to reduce the amount of waste generated, not just increase recycling levels.
They have recommendations for both retailers and local authorities. The taskforce say that retailers should provide clearer information about environmental choices and consider take-back schemes for reusable packaging. Local authorities should age proof recycling policies at the local level, to make sure older people can participate, and promote composting and reuse schemes.

Recommendations for retailers include:

  • Retailers need to provide more products that meet older people’s needs to help avoid waste;
  • Tackle and reduce waste in all areas of their operations;
  • Consider take-back schemes for reusable packaging;
  • And provide clearer information about how to recycle a product on its packaging.

Recommendations for local authorities include:

  • Promote local reuse schemes;
  • And promote composting to reduce food waste.

Green Alliance director Stephen Hale said: “Green Alliance is keen to mobilise every voice possible in calling for political and public action to address climate change. The environment is often seen as an issue for young people, with older people’s views, experience and ideas in danger of being ignored. I strongly welcome the recommendations being put forward by the Greener and Wiser taskforce, with their potential to raise the profile of older people in the green debate and to support them in taking action at an individual level. As the government looks to promote green behaviour change, they would do well to listen to this taskforce and their views on the approaches that will work for our older population.

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