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The UK government looks set to miss one of its key recycling targets ...
The UK government looks set to miss one of its key recycling targets

after new government figures reveal that only 14.5 per

cent of household waste in England was recycled in 2002/3 (see LGCnet). The

government's Waste Strategy 2000 for England and Wales set a target to

recycle or compost at least 25 per cent of household waste by 2005.

Despite the two per cent increase in domestic recycling, England still

languishes near the foot of the European recycling league. Austria

recycles around two thirds of its waste (64 %), Belgium recycles over

half (52%)[1].

DEFRA published its provisional estimates from the department's latest

Municipal Waste Management Survey for the financial year 2002/3. These

show that:

. Municipal waste has risen 1.8 per cent over the previous year (to

29.3 million tonnes);

. Household waste - which accounts for around 88 per cent of municipal

waste - has risen by 1.1 per cent;

. The amount of waste landfilled has fallen slightly;

. The proportion of households served by a kerbside recycling scheme

increased from 58 per cent to 66 per cent. Last month a Friends of the

Earth survey revealed that only a quarter of local authorities

currently comply with the Household Waste Recycling Act's target of

providing every household with a doorstep collection of at least two

materials by 2010 [2].

. The most recycled material was compostable waste (32 per cent),

followed by paper (30 per cent) and glass (13 per cent)

Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner Clare Wilton said: 'The

government is clearly not doing enough to tackle the UK's waste

crisis and seems set to miss its target of recycling a quarter of

household waste by 2005. Increasing amounts of waste are being

generated, and far too little is recycled. A n effective plan to

dramatically reduce the amount of waste we produce is desperately

needed. Ministers must also do more to ensure that local authorities

speed up the introduction of comprehensive doorstep recycling

collections for every household. We cannot continue to lay waste to

the environment by throwing valuable resources into landfill sites, or

burning them in incinerators.'

1. Environmental Signals 2002 - European Environment Agency.

2. Available here.

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