Recycling in England has dropped in the last year

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Recycling in England has DROPPED in the last year while the amount of material incinerated is on the rise

  • Recycling levels in the UK have reached a plateau over the last five years  
  • Less than half of all household waste (45.2 per cent) was recycled in 2017 
  • English households account for more than four-fifths of the UK’s waste

Recycling levels in the UK have dropped by 3.5 per cent in a year as local authorities choose to burn their waste instead. 

When the ash created from incinerated metal is accounted for the figure changes to reflect a tiny growth of just 0.3 per cent. 

Data from the Environment Department (Defra) shows that this is an ongoing issue as overall recycling has only improved by one percentage point in the last five years. 

Waste sent for incineration has increased by 0.7 million tonnes in 2017/18 to 10.8 million tonnes in 2017/18, with 42 per cent of all local authority waste now being sent for incineration. 

The UK now seems unlikely to reach the goal of 50 per cent of all household waste being recycled in the next two years. 

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Less than half of all household waste (45.2 per cent) was recycled in 2017 - a minuscule rise of just 0.3 per cent on the previous year. The UK now seems unlikely to reach the EU-enforced target of 50 per cent recycling in the next two years (stock)

Less than half of all household waste (45.2 per cent) was recycled in 2017 – a minuscule rise of just 0.3 per cent on the previous year. The UK now seems unlikely to reach the EU-enforced target of 50 per cent recycling in the next two years (stock)

The amount of ‘dry’ materials such as paper, card, glass, plastic, waste electrical and electronic equipment has fell 2.1 per cent in 2017.

But, collection of separate food waste increased by 8.7 per cent on the previous year.

The UK has a target, first implemented under EU law, to recycle at least 50 per cent of of waste generated by households by 2020.

With English households accounting for more than four-fifths of the country’s waste, the UK as a whole looks likely to miss the goal.

Figures released in October for the whole of the UK up to 2016 showed recycling rates have been largely static for the past few years.

The latest figures come ahead of a new waste strategy for England, which is expected to propose ways to increase the responsibility of producers to pay for collection of packaging and incentivise making it more recyclable.

Analysis, by the BBC, suggests that recycling rates are being hindered by the myriad of different rules which are in play up and down the country.

Britain has a staggering 39 different regimes for recycling plastic and the patchwork of systems is fuelling confusion, with nearly half of Britons admitting they have arguments at home about how to sort plastics, a poll has found. 

Analysis, by the BBC, suggests that recycling rates are being hindered by the myriad of different rules which are in play up and down the country. It found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Britons asked said they disagree about what should and should not be recycled

Analysis, by the BBC, suggests that recycling rates are being hindered by the myriad of different rules which are in play up and down the country. It found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Britons asked said they disagree about what should and should not be recycled

Analysis, by the BBC, suggests that recycling rates are being hindered by the myriad of different rules which are in play up and down the country. It found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Britons asked said they disagree about what should and should not be recycled

Every council is in charge of how they collect recycling, putting in place different rules for what can be collected and how it can be mixed.

The research found that 99 per cent of homes can have their plastic bottles recycled, and margarine tubs and yoghurt pots have the next highest rate at 74 per cent.

But other plastic packaging are only collected by a handful of local authorities – with plastic plant pots only picked up from 10 per cent of homes.

And it appears that this hotch-potch approach is fuelling confusion and triggering family rows about what can go in the recycling bin.

A poll for the BBC found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Britons asked said they disagree about what should and should not be recycled.

And just over a quarter (26 per cent) said they disagree more than once a month about the recycling. 

HOW MUCH RECYCLING ENDS UP IN LANDFILL?

Every day, millions of us drop a plastic bottle or cardboard container into the recycling bin – and we feel we’re doing our bit for the environment.

But what we may not realise is that most plastic never gets recycled at all, often ending up in landfill or incineration depots instead.

Of 30 billion plastic bottles used by UK households each year, only 57 per cent are currently recycled, with half going to landfill, half go to waste.

Most plastic never gets recycled at all, often ending up in landfill or incineration depots instead. Supermarkets are packed to the gills with plastic so I did my weekly shops at a farmers' market - something that may seem old-fashioned to ‘millenials’

Most plastic never gets recycled at all, often ending up in landfill or incineration depots instead. Supermarkets are packed to the gills with plastic so I did my weekly shops at a farmers' market - something that may seem old-fashioned to ‘millenials’

Most plastic never gets recycled at all, often ending up in landfill or incineration depots instead. Around 700,000 plastic bottles a day end up as litter

Around 700,000 plastic bottles a day end up as litter.

This is largely due to plastic wrapping around bottles that are non-recyclable. 

Every year, the UK throws away 2.5 billion ‘paper’ cups, amounting to 5,000 cups a minute. 

Shockingly, less than 0.4 per cent of these are recycled.

Most cups are made from cardboard with a thin layer of plastic. 

This lining keeps your coffee warm and stops the cardboard going soggy, but also makes the cup almost impossible to recycle.  

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