Recycling Roundup 20th February
A recent Sky News report has found that less than 10% of councils in England and Wales consider that the recycling schemes they run are compulsory. A Freedom of Information Act request found that out of 200 councils questioned, only 12 believed that their scheme was mandatory and fined residents who failed to recycle.
This is surprising, considering that local authorities are under pressure to meet EU recycling targets, and are having to slash their waste disposal budgets.
Traditionally, councils have seen fines as a last resort in getting residents to recycle, and there has always been more of an emphasis on educating people around recycling. The frequency of collections has been reduced in many areas as another way of encouraging people to throw away less rubbish. Aberdeen Council has even reduced the size of waste bins in an attempt to increase recycling rates to meet the recycling target of 50% set by the EU.
London’s recycling rate is woeful compared to other areas in the UK. A comparison of national recycling rates found that London recycles on average 32% of household waste, much lower than the national average of 43%. The four worst performing councils in terms of recycling rates are in the capital; Newham, Westminster, Lewisham and Barking, and Dagenham. It’s not all bad news though, as Bexley and Bromley are performing well but even their recycling rates have fallen slightly recently. This is the 3rd year in a row that the capital’s recycling rate has fallen, even in the face of the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s promise to bring recycling levels up to 65% by 2030.
Two recycling centres in Mid Wales that were threatened with closure will remain open but they will be open for fewer days in the week. Rather than close the centres, the council has decided to allow them to remain open for 3 days per week instead of 5.
The council dropped their plans to close the Welshpool and Newtown Centres after more than 5000 people signed a petition to keep them open. Closing the centres would have saved the council £700,000 but they have now decided to provide £200,000 to help keep the centres open, and a further £300,000 in the following financial year.
A Brazilian woman has collected 300 kilograms of recycling to pay for her son to study in Europe. She knew that her son wanted to study languages, and she enrolled him in a local English school, where teachers were amazed by his language skills.
He was recommended for an exchange programme in Finland, however, his family could not afford the $12,000 fees. His mother began collecting plastic and cans on her way to work, and made over $1500 from selling the recyclables. She raised further funds from bake sales and from donations. Her son is now in Europe, enjoying his studies.
Wiltshire council has promised to open 3 local recycling centres for an extra day every week, after growing complaints about queues at the centres, and an increase in fly-tipping. Keeping the centres open for an extra day per week will cost an extra £175,000, but it will ease traffic to the centres and will allow a steadier flow of visitors, instead of everyone having to rush to them at peak times.