Official figures from Defra have revealed that household waste recycling rates in England stagnated last year, at 44.2%, compared to 44.1% in 2012.
If the UK fails to recycle less than 50% of household waste by 2020 it could face fines from Brussels in excess of £500,000 a day.
Lydiate Parish Cllr. Robbie Fenton campaigning for recycling in Sefton
Recycling industry bosses said the target looked increasingly unlikely to be met, citing a decline in the amount of paper and packaging being used. David Palmer-Jones, head of recycling firm SITA UK, said radical measures to increase recycling rates may be needed. He raised the prospects of “skinny” wheelie bins to limit black bag waste physically, or council tax discounts for high recycling rates.
The Times and Daily Telegraph covered this story.
My concern here is why are some of us so reluctant to recycle? Is it laziness? Surely this is major issue not from the fines perspective but from us not realising that if we don’t recycle we will run out of some commodities and if things become scarce it will push prices up. Recycling is a no-brainer so it needs to be pushed hard with school children in particular.
Charles Clover in the Times newspaper commented not so long ago on the confusion over recycling in different areas of England. He points out that recycling rates in England have dropped to 43.2% and are in danger of dropping further. He explains that householders are unsure about what can and cannot be recycled, while families are also cynical about whether recyclables are actually recycled. Mr Clover also notes that rates in Scotland and Wales have improved, because of a clear and standardised best practice for recycling schemes.
I think there is something in this. As a Liberal my usual instinct is not to support standardisation everywhere because it can stifle innovation but here the differences between the approach of local authorities is unhelpful. The priority has to be to get recycling rates up as high as they can go and uncertainty about what can and can’t be recycled is in no ones interest.
With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.
Thank tank calls for waste revolution
The Circular Economy Task Force has warned that UK councils are spending more on collecting rubbish than on housing or planning. The bodies accumulatively spend £3.9bn on waste, £3bn on housing and £2.3bn on planning, and have been encouraged by the Task Force to reform waste disposal strategies to optimise operations and save money. The report suggests billions could be saved investing in waste and recycling plants, some of which could generate energy from rubbish. Capturing reusable or recyclable products that are currently lost could be worth £1.7bn a year.
This report seems to be saying that there is money and energy to be made if changes are made. I wonder if it is really that simple?
With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.
Recycling rates to slump?
Rates of recycling rose by just 0.2% in 2012/13 and are predicted to fall by 2% in the year 2013-14, according to waste firm SITA. The firms blames the use of multiple bins for the collection of recycling. “Rates of overall recycling, especially in high density urban areas, are undoubtedly higher when councils and their contractors run a mixed collection service”, said SITA chief executive, David Palmer-Jones. A Defra spokesman said it was working to ensure it meets the EU’s 50% target of recycling half of all household waste by 2020.
Lib Dem Cllr. Simon Shaw promoting recycling
This is an interesting slant on the recycling issue. In Sefton the Council uses separate bins. I wonder if there is credible evidence to back up what SITA says?
Another related issue in Council areas, like Sefton, is the frustration of residents who want to recycle things like plastic yogurt and butter pots. The items have logos on them saying they can be recycled but many Councils don’t collect them. I think this is a case of people with environmental/green attitudes being ahead of the ability of Councils to deliver the recycling service they demand.
With thanks to the LGiU for the SITA aspect of this posting.
No, I could not quite believe it myself when a resident got in touch to suggest that 5.30am may just be a little too early to empty his new brown recycling bin.
I little investigation found it to be, so I am told, a one off event because some of the brown bins in Sefton Drive, Maghull had been missed the previous day and the night crew were asked to pick them up.
Cllr. Robbie Fenton pictured in March 2012 campaigning for plastic and cardboard recycling to be introduced in Sefton
We Lib Dems have been pushing Sefton Council to bring this in for a long time and at last the Labour-run Council is taking action. My colleague Cllr. Nigel Ashton has been seeking out information about the roll out of this recycling initiative and the consequences of it. Here are a few pointers as to what is going to happen and where to find more information:-
Cllr. Nigel Ashton
* Information mailings should drop through Sefton resident’s letter boxes from 21st February until 11th April.
* Brown bins should be delivered to properties from 17th March through to the 27th April.
* The new collection service will start for some residents from 31st March and all should be on it by 28th April.
* Under the new collection arrangement the brown and grey wheelie-bins will be emptied on an alternating pattern (Tuesday to Friday) with green wheelie-bins being emptied on a fortnightly basis between February and November on Saturday or Monday, each household will receive a collection calendar which identifies the day/date and colour of bin scheduled for collection.
* Something to bear in mind – There are around 14,000 properties within Sefton which have access/storage issues and therefore do not receive the current or future (Residual/Plastic&Cardboard) Alternate Weekly Collection (AWC) wheelie-bin service, the vast majority of these currently receive a weekly collection of residual and recyclable waste.
* At this stage the search facility on Sefton’s website provides current collection arrangement information only (grey/green w/bins) however this will be replaced by the new collection information (Grey/Brown & Green w/bin collections) just prior to each phase commencing.
* Sefton’s website does however contain information about the introduction of plastic/cardboard collections and the ability to look-up when the first brown-bin collection (for a specific property) is scheduled to be provided;
Here’s hoping I have not got any of this information around my neck!