Whether something is recycled or not is moving up the agenda again this week as the EU sets a 70% recycling rate. As I wrote a few weeks ago this will be a particular challenge in the UK where recycling rates have stalled. Germany and Austria are nearly at this target being in the low sixties. Something else I discovered is that much of what is recycled in the UK is returned to use as a lower quality product. So there is me thinking all the glass we recycle is used to make new glass, which seems rather obvious, but much of it is apparently used to make roads. However, some glass and plastic is used to make insulation as is plastic bottles which does not seem such a bad use.
We wrote in our book;
“As we wrote in an earlier chapter, one of the biggest problems is
our dependence on oil to make ‘stuff’, principally plastics but also
chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The replacement of these products
with alternatives derived from natural materials relies on scientific
research which has (worryingly) barely started, so actions in this area
are more limited. However, as we believe we will all have to do with
less than now, there are habits to be formed.”
I guess our Eurosceptic so called greenest government will be forced to go along with this EU directive, although they are resisting at the moment. One of these habits has to be to learn to use less then it does not matter so much if its recycled or not.