UK will fail recycling targets

The UK is set to miss recycling and recovery targets, according to a waste trade association. If action isn’t taken, the country will fall short of its 2015 recovery targets by 11 million tonnes.

The Environmental Services Association claims the UK government has acted too slowly on its Waste Strategy 2000, and will fail to meet its 2015 goal to recover two-thirds of municipal waste. A similar target to recycle or compost a third of all household waste will fall short by five million tonnes.

According to calculations by ESA, by 2015 local authorities will have recovered 27 million tonnes of waste. But at the present rate of recovery, the UK will only be able to recapture 16 million tonnes of waste. A similar shortfall will occur for recycled and composted household waste, with a projected seven million tonnes predicted to be processed by 2015 at the current rate of waste growth, compared with targets of 12 million.

“Our figures show just how much work needs to be done,” says ESA Chief Executive Dirk Hazell. “We can only hope the Strategy Unit will help to turn the Government’s aspirational words into performed deed.”

The Association says it is disappointed at the continuing lack of Government leadership while the UK’s waste management industry remains on standby. ESA claims industry is ready to invest up to £1 billion a year to return more material and energy in waste to the economy.

The UK’s poor performance contrasts sharply with its European counterparts. “The UK sends about 80% of its municipal solid waste to landfill, while Denmark sends 80% of its waste to resource reuse technologies,” says Hazell.

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