Azara Blog: Recycling Targets in England

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Date published: 2005/01/18

The BBC says:

Recycling rates from local authorities show England is on track to reach its 17% target for 2003/4, the government has said.
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The 17% target is set in line with the European Union directive on landfill, and rises to 25% by the end of 2005/6.
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Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett welcomed Tuesday's figures.
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"While there is still a lot of work to do to raise levels of recycling even higher, this is a strong indication that the nation is adjusting to more sustainable waste practices."
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Britain is also near the bottom of the class compared with the rest of Europe's recycling performance.

Stella Bland, of environmental charity Forum for the Future, said that looking at waste reduction was the key to recycling as much waste as other European countries.

"We would like to see variable charging so that local authorities are given the ability to charge households according to the amount of waste they create," she said.

Friends of the Earth's recycling campaigner Georgina Bloomfield welcomed improvements from some local councils but called on the Government to set more ambitious recycling targets for 2010 (currently 30%) and 2015 (currently 33%).

"This country still languishes a long way behind many of our European neighbours. The government must set more ambitious recycling targets," she said.

"We should be recycling at least 50% of our rubbish by 2010, an achievable target that would give us a recycling record to be proud of."

The only halfway sane comment in all of that is by Stella Bland of Forum for the Future. The chattering classes (also known amusingly as the middle classes, i.e. the rich), such as Margaret Beckett and Friends of the Earth, seem to love recycling for recycling's sake. This is because they can continue to create vast amounts of waste (which they do, because they are rich) and still pretend that by recycling they are "saving the world". Rich people also have plenty of space in their residences to collect the recycling and the really rich just get their servants to sort it all out. Recycling is not particularly environmentally friendly, and it is far more important to reduce waste than to increase the recycling rate. The main problem in the UK is that there are far too many non-workers (e.g. politicians and the FOE) who spend their entire lives being control freaks over the workers.

Michael Moore in his book "Stupid White Men" says:

I think recycling is like going to church -- you show up once a week, it makes you feel good, and you've done your duty. Then you can get back to all the fun of sinning!

Well to be fair his main complaint was that in the US much material that is supposedly going to be recycled never ends up even being recycled. Hopefully at least that is less of a problem in the UK.

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