Headlines: February 18th, 2008

Less than two per cent of the items that householders are putting out for collection by councils for recycling has to be rejected, according to new figures. The Local Government Association says the statistics are a tribute to the pride people take in recycling but it has warned that even more needs to be done to reduce dependency on landfill for waste disposal.

The figures from quarterly returns from local authorities to Waste Data Flow for 2006-07 show that of almost 13 million tonnes of items collected by councils for recycling, only 240,403, just 1.6 per cent, were rejected.

Paul Bettison, the Chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said councils were striving to ensure that as much waste as possible could be recycled after families spent their time doing their bit to help the environment. “With, on average, around one in one hundred items being rejected for recycling, it is a testament to the hard work of homeowners and just how much pride they take in ensuring the right materials go in the right bins for recycling,”Councillor Bettison said.

He added that since 1997 householders, businesses and councils had worked tirelessly to boost recycling rates from seven per cent to 30 per cent. But he added, “There is still far more that needs to be done if the taxpayer is going to be able to avoid the landfill fines that the EU and central government will impose in the coming years.”

Britain, he said, was the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish going to landfill sites than in any other country on the continent. People had grown used to being able to throw their rubbish away without worrying about any consequences, Councillor Bettison said but those days are now over.