Sunday, 16 November 2008

Recycling Crisis

I read an article in today's Observer which claims that sites are desperately being sought to house the UK's unwanted mountain of recyclable rubbish. The financial crisis has led to a drop in demand for recycled raw materials. Thousands of tonnes of paper, plastic and steel are piling up and local authorities have requested government permission to store them on Ministry of Defence land until the market returns.

The danger is, of course, that this will discourage people from recycling. Our recycling or composting has increased by 10% over the last year but we still lag behind the rest of Europe.

What is does illustrate is that recycling should remain the last option and, ideally, only resorted to after reducing and reusing.

Easier said than done, I'm afraid. My last weigh in, 10 days ago, was 475g (ie about 240g per week), almost entirely made up of unrecyclable plastic food wrapping. Definitely still work in progress.

1 comment:

Cousin Yellowstone said...

It seems like this problem would easily be solved if the government passed laws requiring that certain products be made of recycled materials. For example, pass a law that toilet paper be made of recycled fiber, with a certain percentage of it being post-consumer recycled fiber. It's insane that trees continue to be cut down to make toilet paper while this mountain of recyclable paper continues to grow.

Laws requiring that products be made from recycled materials would need to include exemptions for situations in which recycled materials genuinely are unavailable, because there's a chance that at some point in the future there'll be a shortage of recycled materials. However, I don't see that happening any time soon.