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ASDA launches attack on local authorities’ recycling

June 10, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Supermarket giant ASDA has claimed that thousands of tonnes of packaging are heading needlessly to landfill, simply because hundreds of local councils only collect the "bare minimum” from householders. They will be opposing any "pay as you throw" tax on waste because of a “postcode lottery”, which they claim makes it impossible for many people to recycle packaging, despite the fact that 93% of it is, in theory, recyclable.

The supermarket has found that, according to research carried out by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program) during a five month period last year, the variety of materials collected by local authorities differs hugely, even in the same regions of the country. Whilst 85% of councils collect metal cans, 64% glass, 63% card and 62% plastic bottles, the facilities for collecting foil, other plastics and tetrapaks are far scarcer. Top of the league were South Holland district council and North Kesteven council, whilst languishing at the bottom were the Scilly Isles, Solihull, Warrington, Halton and Southampton.

Local authorities and the waste sector have reacted angrily to the claims. Even WRAP itself, whose data has been used by ASDA, has criticised their conclusions, pointing out that they did not take account of recycling banks.

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has responded by accusing ASDA of blame shifting. They point out that taxpayers do not want to see an increase in council tax to deal with the problem and that the supermarkets should take more responsibility, by providing facilities at their stores or funding kerbside collections.

The waste sector described ASDA’s attack as “misguided and misleading”, undermining the chain’s previous efforts at addressing recycling issues.

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