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The government is currently finalising its new waste strategy, which is widely expected to mandate significantly in...
The government is currently finalising its new waste strategy, which is widely expected to mandate significantly increased recycling targets for local authorities. But these won't be met unless markets for recycled materials are improved. A law which could provide the key to this has been introduced today to Parliament by Labour MP David Chaytor. The Recycled Content of Newsprint Bill would ensure that publishers recycle at least half of the magazines and newspapers they produce, and that newspapers contain 80 per cent recycled fibre by 2010, thereby ensuring a market for the collected paper.

The last government set a target of recycling 25 per cent of waste by 2000 - but failed to raise recycling even to 8 per cent. The Newsprint Bill if passed would break the recycling deadlock, by complementing increased collection with a guaranteed market. It would mean recycling collectors could be sure of a good price for their paper, also making it easier to extend collection schemes to materials like cans and bottles, as well as paper.

The Bill is being promoted by Friends of the Earth, Waste Watch and the Community Recycling Network. It has been supported by 260 MPs, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee and numerous local authorities and recycling businesses. Increased paper recycling would reduce pollution from waste dumps, and also reduce the amount of wildlife-rich forest destroyed to make virgin paper. Also, it could provide around 10,000 jobs in recycling and reduce the UK import bill by£175 million a year.

Anna Thomas of Friends of the Earth said:

'People want to recycle, and they don't want to live near waste dumps or incinerators. This new law could be the key they want to unlocking recycling and making it work. The last government failed dismally to improve recycling and clearly showed its incompetence by failing to get anywhere near its own targets. The current government must support the Recycled Content of Newsprint Bill if it wants to avoid these mistakes.'
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