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Government urged to tackle recycling as rates plateau in the UK

A recent plateau in recycling rates is being attributed to a retreat by Government ministers in their efforts to encourage recycling across England. This step back and reduction in activity by the Department for Food, Rural Affairs and the Environment (DEFRA) has come after waste minister, Dan Rogerson’s statement last November which suggested that businesses are, in fact, “better placed to act” on activities to encourage recycling than governmental bodies.

England household recycling rates

It appears that one of the main issues needing tackling in England is the lack of knowledge about correct recycling processes by homeowners; something that is slowing recycling rates almost to a halt, with only a 0.2% rise in 2012. With over 400 different waste schemes across England, it’s no surprise that homeowners are struggling to keep up with the process of recycling. A report recently published by the environment, food and rural affairs committee detailed that the average person in England is now throwing away ‘five times their body weight in waste each year’, which amounts in an astonishing 22.6m tons of household waste each year across the country.

With figures like these, and EU targets of 50% of household waste being recycled by 2020, a figure rising to 70% by 2030, it is apparent that there is a greater need for government intervention, rather than less. Indeed the government themselves admitted in their own report last November that there is a strong likelihood that the aforementioned EU target will not be met by 2020 given the current rates of recycling.

Government recycling schemes

In order for recycling rates in England to stand a chance of reaching the proposed EU targets come 2020, and continually rising to 2030, it is important that the government re-involve themselves in recycling schemes. The committee believe that the appointment of a minister to tackle waste management across government departments would be an effective solution to the current issue. As well as this, the implementation of statutory targets by local authorities – as is currently done in Wales – would boost recycling rates further still.

By increased support for local authorities with the introduction of new, simple recycling initiatives whenever and wherever possible, the market failure surrounding waste management will desist in undermining our economy here in the UK.

At Woodford Recycling, we know just how important recycling is to the environment, which is why our effective and affordable recycling solutions and services are renowned within the areas we operate. For more information, or to arrange recycling or skip hire services for your property, contact our friendly team of experts today.

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