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EU sets 50% recycling target

November 4, 2008 at 1:09 pm

The European Union (EU) has revealed its commitment to a deal which will force member states to recycle 50% of all household waste by 2020. The proposal is an umbrella scheme which encompasses the prevention of waste, energy recovery, and the adoption of sensible and achievable recycling projects that can operate within the local community.

Several councils have set themselves far more enthusiastic targets, with many hoping to achieve the new goals within the next five years. Rochdale council has pledged to cut annual waste in half by 2011 and aims to become the ‘green’ jewel in Manchester’s crown long before the target date set by the EU.

Cambridge council, on the other hand, has been left feeling slightly concerned by the proposed scheme. Many of the terraced housing estates around the city have poor access to recycling facilities and there is little additional space for recycling bins.

The new scheme, which is an amendment to the Waste Framework Directive, comes in the form of an instruction manual which outlines safe disposal methods for common household waste. Hazardous materials, such as oil and medical or radioactive garbage, are also taken into consideration.

Landfill sites are regarded as a last resort and, in general, they are rapidly falling out of favour with a large proportion of European councils.

Member states will be allowed to construct and maintain their own schemes but participation is compulsory for all EU countries. The European Council wants to see citizens make a conscious effort to recycle plastic, paper, metal, and a large proportion of construction debris before the EU, with its plethoric waste, becomes too filthy to clean.

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