Did You Know We Import Rubbish Into The UK?

by | Jun 30, 2016 | Environmental, News, Waste Management

Did You Know We Import Rubbish Into The UK?

by | Jun 30, 2016 | Environmental, News, Waste Management

Society generates incredible amounts of waste from food and garden waste to plastic bags, car batteries, old and broken electronics and industrial waste, the list of items is endless. On average a household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste a year, translating to roughly 31 million tonnes of waste per year. Councils have stepped up their game on the war on waste by upping bin collection days and organizing bin taxes.

In order to encourage the recycling trend among residents a system of “commingled” recycling is now the norm. Meaning, instead of separating items such as glass and plastic, all items are placed together. It is cheaper and quicker for councils as it is all crushed together and trucks can collect more. On the flip side it is sent to firms, local or international that’s job it is to separate the mass of waste.

Though Britain does recycle more than a quarter of its waste a lot of it is also exported to other countries. Why, because it is cheaper and the waste from the UK is of such a poor quality and heavily mixed up. Countries like China, India and South-east Asia are also in great need of raw materials of any kind, it all makes financial sense.

The UK recycling market imports higher quality goods like, tin cans, glass bottles and boat loads of paper from other countries to keep factories going as reported in the Telegraph.

Environmentalists feel that by shipping waste to and fro is harmful to the environment and that it contributes to the ongoing climate change debate. There is also the nagging idea that it could very well be unsustainable.

The trend to recycle and dispose of waste is however on the rise. In a report by the Department of Enviroment, Food and Rural Affairs the UK recycling rate of “waste from households” rose to 44.9% in 2014. Before Brexit, the EU’s target was for the UK to recycle roughly 50% of household waste by 2020.

The European Commissions’ implementation of the Circular Economy which highlights revised legislative processes on waste will boost global competitiveness, create jobs and cultivate sustainable economical growth. Some of the EU’s targets include recycling 65% of municipal waste and recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030.

The only concern now is will Britain still stick to the EU’s targets now that they have announced an exit from the European Union, or will they create their own goals to tackle the war on waste?

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