Electrical recycling crucial over festive period

December 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Electrical gadgets represent big business at this time of year, with the latest models making popular Christmas presents for both young and old, and the January sales attracting consumers from up and down the country keen to update their TVs, stereos, and various game consoles.

However, even though we may not want to think about the importance of recycling at this festive time of year, it really does make a significant difference if you spend just a few minutes considering what to do with your old electrical gadgets.

Peterborough City Council has advised residents in the region to get rid of their old computers and televisions at the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling centre, which is based in Fengate.

The idea behind the centre is to allow local consumers to dispose of their old electrical items, whatever size or age they happen to be (as long as they are in relatively good working order), safe in the knowledge that the gadgets will be put to good use, with those on low incomes or benefits able to buy the reconditioned items at cut prices. These individuals are often referred to the centre by charities such as Age Concern or the Salvation Army and all the money received at the centre is subsequently spent on improving the service the centre can provide.

Even if you think your old gadget holds no value, don’t throw it out immediately as the centre can easily identify any working parts that may still be useful and can take these out of the old, useless item.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

DEFRA to suffer after goverment spending review

December 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

More than a quarter of the 30,000 people employed by DEFRA are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the huge cuts being made by the current ruling coalition government. With the Environment Agency among the groups expected to be hit hardest by the cuts, the government has so far not commented as to how the UK is expected to meet its current recycling targets whilst reducing spending on projects and staff who are helping to combat the effects of global warming.

Reports so far have suggested that the job cuts are likely to occur because the department is trying to find ways to cut £174 million from administration costs over the next four years. As well as this, the environmental agency, a key regulator of the waste industry in both England and Wales, has come under scrutiny after reports emerged that the coalition government is looking to reform the department substantially.

Commenting on the potential job losses, the permanent secretary at DEFRA stated: “Including non-departmental public bodies, the total staff cuts will be somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 jobs across the whole network including the Environment Agency, out of 30,000”. However, she has in fact failed to disclose the full extent of the cuts that are going to affect the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which currently receives two thirds of its budget from DEFRA.

Whilst DEFRA has been outlining plans which seem to suggest that it will not see its front line performance affected, some countryside experts are now worried that any cuts made by bureaucrats will not be made with enough knowledge to see this happen in reality.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Hampshire crisp packets ending poverty

December 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

Despite government incentives designed to encourage the British public to recycle as much as they can, it can sometimes be difficult to stick to a strict recycling regime. However, one charity in Hampshire has provided locals with a real incentive that has seen enthusiasm for recycling receive a significant boost.

The Philippines Community Fund (PCF), who state their vision as being “to free every Filipino child and their family from the effects of poverty” and perform crucial roles with regards to the health and medical facilities available in the Philippines, has started to turn crisp packets into fashionable items such as handbags and jewellery. The PCF was set up partially in order to help combat the social problems faced by those forced to live in squatter camps set up around giant waste dumps in the Philippines.

The PCF get together regular shipments of recycled crisp packets and send them out from Southampton to their eventual destination, a factory set up by the charity that allows around 300 local people to transform the waste into a range of products suitable for sale. By allowing the parents of young children living in the sites deemed by the charity as needing long-term help to receive an income from the sale of the products, the need for the children to scavenge on the tips is eradicated.

The charity also works extremely hard to improve the literacy and general educational standards of adults in the communities in the hope that this will increase the standard of living for future generations too.

With approximately 30 crisp bags needed by the factory in the Philippines to make just one small purse, the need for the British public to throw themselves fully behind this latest initiative is clear. So, next time you’re considering taking the lazy option and chucking that empty bag of crisps in the litter bin, think again.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Plastic recycling on the up

December 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

With the bad weather and student protests dominating the front pages of the newspapers and providing us with news-flashes more than capable of dampening any festive spirit, it may seem that good news is at a premium at the moment. However, that generalisation simply cannot be applied to the recycling sector, which this week received a significant piece of good news.

The good news comes in the form of a report commissioned by Recoup, with the results of the study revealing that plastic bottle recycling in the UK has increased over the past year, with 45% of bottles now being processed by recycling facilities. The results of the report are based on responses from local authorities, with over 400 authorities initially contacted for data. The percentage represents a significant 7% increase on the figure for last year, causing Marcel Arsand, the project manager at Recoup, to state that the “plastic packaging collection scheme” has made rapid “progress” over the past 12 months or so.

The overall figures for plastic recycling over the past year make for impressive reading, with around 303,000 tonnes of plastic packaging collected for recycling, with 263,000 tonnes of this composed of plastic bottles.

However, there is no doubt that local councils need to make the lives of consumers far easier in order to boost the plastic recycling figure even more, with kerbside collections made more frequent and reliable and campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of recycling plastics sure to be high on the agenda of those local councils with an eco-friendly approach.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Recycling up as recession hits home

December 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

The recession has had numerous devastating effects for consumers living in the UK and indeed across the world. However, there are a few sectors and industries that have received unexpected boosts from the recession, and one of these just happens to be the recycling industry.

Official figures have revealed that, over the past ten years, the amount of household waste being recycled by those living in England has more than trebled and, despite the effects of the recession continuing to worsen for many people over the past year, there has been an increase in the level of household waste being either recycled, composted, or reused. In 2008/2009, 37.6% of household waste was recycled in some way, whilst in 2009/2010 39.7% was the improved figure for Brits to feel proud about.

With the recession reducing the effects of our traditional ‘throwaway’ society, consumers are now more interested in learning new ways to reuse or transform everyday items around the house, rather than chucking them in the bin. However, there is clearly room for improvement, with householders still throwing away more than 60% of their rubbish despite government incentives intended to reduce the pressure on landfill sites.

The winter months pose many problems for recycling collections, with councils struggling at times over recent weeks to make it through the snow and ice and stick to bin collection dates, and major recycling centres forced to shut as well, but as consumers with an environmental conscience, we need to ensure we’re still doing our bit to continue reducing the amount of waste thrown away per household over the next year.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Defra slams plans for weekly rubbish collection

December 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Plans by the Coalition Government to reintroduce weekly rubbish collections may add more than a million tons of recyclable waste to our landfills each year, according to figures from one of the government’s own departments. The UK recycling rate would be reduced, leading to doubts over EU targets being met.

The analysis of the figures released by the waste quango WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), was done by the environment business magazine, the ENDS report. The potential damage is not just to the environment but to our pockets in the form of increases to Council Tax as the extra collections would cost councils £530 million over the next four years.

Nearly half of the councils in England now have fortnightly non-recyclable rubbish collections. The evidence is that households are more likely to recycle with the less frequent collections as they are worried about bins overflowing. Since the election, coalition ministers including Caroline Spelman and Eric Pickles have been lobbying for a return to weekly collections. The local government minister, Bob Neill, has even encouraged councils to hold referenda on the matter.

Even though the government’s environment department, Defra, is in the middle of a review of the overall waste policy, the analysis by WRAP questions the effectiveness of the new policy. Their figures show that the amount of paper, plastic and cans currently recycled by homeowners could drop by up to 46kg per household each year. The figures are worse for garden and kitchen waste with the potential drop in waste recycled being up to 100kg per household. If these figures were extrapolated across the country it would be the equivalent of almost 5% of England’s household waste.

WRAP is also concerned that the increase in pro-recycling behaviour after the fortnightly collections were brought in could be gradually reversed, as the perception of the government’s policy changes by reverting to the ‘old’ weekly collections of non-recyclable waste. This potential drop in the country’s recycle rate would damage the EU target of 50% of household waste to be recycled by 2020.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

UK retailer waste down by half

December 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

There was some good news for the retail sector recently when it was revealed that retailers in the UK have reduced the amount of waste they are sending to landfill by half over the past five years.

The figures were released by the BRC (British Retail Consortium) in a report entitled ‘A Better Retailing Climate Progress Report 2010’. The main findings in the report were that supermarkets are now only sending 23% of their waste to landfill compared to 48% back in 2005.

This represents 1.2 million tonnes of packaging and food waste that have been saved over a five-year period.

The companies questioned for the report represent nearly half of UK retail in terms of market value, so the results are seen as very promising. In addition to the cut in waste, the report also revealed that the UK retail sector has managed to cut down on energy emissions and CO2 emissions from transport by an impressive 18%.

The director general of the BRC, Stephen Robertson, said that these are “remarkable achievements” which “show their commitment to tackling climate change has not wavered, despite the tough trading conditions”.

The overall aim for retailers is to reduce their packaging where possible, to use more materials that can be recycled and to inform their customers about which packaging is recyclable and which isn’t.

This is all down to the voluntary Courtauld agreement that was set up in 2005, where a number of targets were set for the retail industry in terms of packaging and recycling, some of which have already been reached.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »