The general public in some parts of the country appears resistant or at least reluctant to follow through when it comes to recycling garbage.
Despite Iceland’s reputation as a green country, recycling is a relatively new concept. Public receptacles for recyclable items are few and curbside pick-up is limited, when available. This necessitates greater public effort for those who do want to recycle, although services are generally easier to come by in the capital area than in the countryside.
RÚV reports that recycling is proving to be a challenge in Ísafjörður, and that the distance needed to travel to deposit recyclables is only part of the problem.
Kristín Hálfdánsdóttir, the chairperson of the Ísafjörður Sanitation Committee, said that residents are not sorting their garbage properly. She believes the general public should be better educated about the fact that some recyclables (e.g. milk cartons and aluminum cans) do need to be handled the right way in order to be recycled.
Environmental expert Stefán Gíslason added that while many residents have trouble seeing how recycling pays off, as they have to travel long distances to deposit recyclables, transport is only part of the problem. Rather, the general public should be looking at the big picture, he said, and avoid buying unnecessary things that are only going to be thrown away later.
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