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Is £1billion worth of recycled waste enough?

April 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

As the banking world hangs its head in shame at billions of pounds worth of losses, the UK’s recycling world can pat itself on the back. This year sees the UK proudly boasting a total of over £1 billion worth of recycling waste since 2003. Add up all the paper, the glass, the metal and the plastic that that we’ve prevented from going to landfills this decade, and it comes to £1.1 billion. It’s even more if you take into account the costs saved on landfill charges too.

According to the green website Recycle Now, households in the UK have seen at 30% growth in their daily recycled waste, which is roughly double the amount recycled in 2003. If you want even more statistics, then, in terms of weight, we’re looking at around 34 million tonnes of recycled waste over the last five years. It’s not just been good for the planet though. The boom in the UK’s recycling industry had led to the creation of thousands of new jobs in this sector; from collectors to crushers. It’s an industry that is providing the UK’s currently hard-pressed economy with a staggering £5.5 billion per year.

But could we be doing more? Is this enough? According to famous eco-designer Oliver Heath, who has pioneered some of the UK’s most innovative and environmental ideas for homes, there is always more we can do to push us towards a 100% recycling nation. At the moment we save nearly two-thirds of waste from landfill, but countries such as Holland, Germany and Belgium are still quite some way ahead.

Being in a deep recession it’s natural for prices all over the board to drop. The price of recyclable waste has not been an exception. There are some worries coming from environmental groups that we might start going into reverse, but the general consensus is that, with stats like 30 millions tonnes of CO2 emissions being prevented since 2003, we are certainly on the right road here in the UK.

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