Suez Suggests Pay As You Throw
Schemes Will Improve Recycling Rates
One of the UK’s biggest waste firms has weighed in with their opinion on what would increase recycling rates.
Suez, which employs more than 5,000 people in the UK and processes 10 million tonnes of waste each year, carried out a survey on litter, recycling, and waste management that asked people what they thought the main causes of litter were. Most respondents said that they believed that fast food wrappers, sandwich packaging, crisp packets and sweet wrappers were the main culprits. One in seven people also though that plastic bottles were to blame.
This has prompted calls from Suez to make recycling much more efficient. The company’s chief executive said that if recycling was more efficient, council waste collection bills and littering would be drastically reduced. They have also called for the introduction of deposit return schemes, especially for bottle and cans.
Should ‘pay-as-you-throw’ be introduced?
The company believes that if packaging manufacturers were required by law to make include a minimum of 50% recyclable materials in their packaging, and it was designed better, more materials would be able to be recycled and reused. This would prevent businesses and households from throwing perfectly reusable materials away just so they can end up in landfill sites. They go even further to say that companies who use virgin materials for packaging rather than recycled materials should be taxed.
They say that being able to track materials through their entire life cycle, from production to sale, and from the recycling bin back into them being repurposed would be easier if business and residential waste was weighed and ‘pay-as-you-throw’ systems were introduced. Suez say that by fitting microchips in bins to weigh residual waste, this would encourage individuals and businesses to recycle more if they knew they would have to pay for what they throw away.
The lowdown on pay-as-you-throw
As part of a pay-as-you-throw scheme, household waste is weighed on collection while recycling is collected for free or for a lesser fee. So this means that bigger families would automatically be charged more because they produce more waste.
Ireland and other European countries have introduced similar systems, but the idea has been previously rejected in the UK, partly because it would require a change in the law. Local authorities are currently banned from charging households for certain types of waste.