Recycling Roundup 24th September
A keen five-year-old recycling campaigner is the star of a Wigan Council recycling campaign which aims to make the area a greener and cleaner place. The adorable girl, called Ember, appears in a video and talks about why it’s important to look after the planet. She regularly does litter picks with her parents, as she is worried that animals could be injured by litter that’s left lying around. She asked her parents if she could go to the town hall to talk about litter, and the local authority came up with the idea of teaming up with her to spread the message.
A local councillor said that working with Ember was a reminder that we need to preserve the planet for future generations and added that they want to do all they can to pass on a clean and green Wigan. He acknowledged that local schools were doing a fantastic job in teaching the next generation about recycling and being more environmentally-conscious.
The council is now encouraging people to recycle more and keep the borough tidy by becoming one of ‘Ember’s Heroes,’ and spreading the message on social media with the hashtag #JoinEmber.
The plastics recycling charity, Recoup has said that confusion over what type of plastic packaging can be recycled is partly down to cuts in local authority communication budgets. Recoup conducted a survey which found that conflicting media messages, language barriers, and people just not understanding were the main reasons behind the recycling confusion.
Cuts to council budgets means that they can’t run as many recycling education campaigns, and as a result, around 600,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is not being collected. Items that often caused confusion were things like toothpaste containers, pill blister packs, bubble wrap, cleaning products, black and coloured plastics, and film lids.
A spokesman for Recoup said that people are often unaware about how much of a difference recycling can make, what type of plastics they can recycle, and where they should put their plastics recycling. He added that there is still work to be done to remove some of the conflicting messages about recycling plastics that are given to the public.
The recycling minister has said that household recycling rates are ‘collapsing.’ The reasons for this include local authority budget cuts, stricter rules at materials recycling facilities, restrictions on exports to China and the introduction of charges for green waste which impacted on the amount of green waste that was recycled.
In a statement she made to a parliamentary committee, She commented on individual authorities to highlight the problem. The lowest performing authority, Newham, achieved a recycling rate of just over 14% and even East Riding in Yorkshire, the highest performing council, said it expects its rates to go down too.
One local authority expert said he hopes that measures like increased producer responsibility for packaging will push recycling rates back up.
England’s overall recycling rate, including composting, rose to 45.1% in 2016-17, up from 44.4% in the previous financial year. But since 2009/10, England’s recycling and composting rates have not even increased by 5%.