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As landfill costs continue to rise, UK councils look to introduce new methods to increase recycling

November 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Due to the increasing cost of landfill since the introduction of the new Landfill Tax 2008 (HMRC, 2008) and the revised EU Waste Framework Directive for England and Wales which advocates that 50% of all household waste and 70% of all construction waste must be recycled by 2020 (DEFRA, 2010), councils are under increasing pressure to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill. It is no surprise therefore, that individual councils around the UK are investing both energy and budget into finding new ways in which to increase the level recycling is happening at a local level.

One such recycling scheme is the controversial ‘chip and bin’ scheme where a microchip is fitted inside the wheelie bins of individual households and businesses in order to monitor and in some cases ‘reward’ them for the amount of waste they recycle and in turn prevent from going to landfill. Already used by over 65 councils across the UK (Big Brother Watch, 2010), the scheme came under the spotlight again last month, with the announcement that Cambridge council is the latest to consider the introduction of the microchips to their bins. The council is in the process of collating local opinion on the matter via a survey which closes in early November 2011, but concern has already been voiced that in allowing the council to track how much waste each household is recycling each year, privacy is being infringed. Others are worried that this bin surveillance technology could in time be used to identify and fine those who do not recycle, though few councils have so far used the chips in this way.

In Wales, councils are under additional pressure to initiate new recycling schemes in their boroughs due to the Welsh government’s more demanding waste strategy ‘Towards Zero Waste’ which aims to see up to 70% of all suitable waste being recycled by 2024-25 (Welsh Government, 2011). In October 2011, it was revealed that a £3 million grant has been allocated by the Welsh Government to help councils across Wales in their individual recycling schemes. These so far include the collection and recycling of cooking oils for use in council vehicles by Gwynedd county council, new kerbside recycling vehicles and litre recycling boxes by Torfaen County Borough Council and the introduction of a household waste recycling centre and mattress recycling facility by the Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. The Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, believes that every local authority in Wales is on course to meet the statutory recycling targets.

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One response to “As landfill costs continue to rise, UK councils look to introduce new methods to increase recycling”

  1. Steve Morgan says:

    Councils, Schools and Companies can have all IT equipment safely disposed of by Environmental Computer Recycling who are based in Birmingham. Some high end kit and telephony is even paid for! Even the public can drop off their old kit for a free disposal, and be comfortable in the fact that their unwanted IT equipment is either being re-used by the less fortunate or recycled for its raw materials. Therefore working towards the goal of Zero Landfill.

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