Recycling rates in the UK (particularly England) are flatlining. So says SITA on yesterdays news (although on their website the story is far older). Its a mixed picture in some parts of England recycling rates are 70% and in Wales overall its over 50%.
They say “England is also facing the danger that it won’t achieve its EU 2020 recycling target of 50 per cent but, despite this, the current Government has withdrawn funding and focus from sustainable resource use – placing its future in the hands of the waste management industry.”
On the news item yesterday the man from SITA was complaining not of government cuts, but green fatigue for lowering recycling rates. There then followed a debate on whether households should sort recycling before collection and whether this would improve recycling rates. Mixing recycling makes it easier for the householder but cross contaminates the recycling making it potentially unusable.
I’m not sure what’s best and whether cuts are the cause or green fatigue, but I do know the following.
- Where I live recycling has got easier and we can recycle more.
- When we go on holiday to rural areas whether its in England, Scotland or Wales recycling is far more limited.
- There is still too much we cannot recycle.
- There is still too much packaging, its very difficult to avoid this completely and most of the packaging concerned is not recyclable.
- Most plastic is not recyclable more than a few times anyway.
We need to use less and design in reuse.