*Cleanzine-logo-6.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 13th June 2019 Issue no. 874

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September 8th leader continued

Of course these trips also give me the chance to discover what others throw away and I get really cross when I see sofas, tables and other items of what appear to be good furniture, being thrown into the 'general rubbish' skips, the contents of which are destined for landfill.

I wasn't around to see the sailing boat, 8ft polystyrene snowman or coffin which were apparently dropped off at one of the stations recently though. Nor did I see the tortoise that had a lucky escape when it was accidentally tipped into a green waste bin before being spotted, the caravan, the diving gear, the grand piano or the bag of laundry which had perhaps been mistaken for a sack or rubbish and thrown out in error!

Surrey County Council says that the willingness of its residents to recycle and not simply dump their rubbish into landfill has helped push the county's household waste recycling rate to 50%, almost a decade ahead of schedule (councils will have to recycle at least half their household waste by 2020, which means Surrey is nine years ahead of time). The county is now aiming to hit a 70% household waste recycling target by 2014. 

As well as helping the environment, this saves Surrey taxpayers £ millions a year in reduced landfill costs - although we are still paying £600,000 every month (that's £7,200,000 per annum) which would be better spent elsewhere.

Surrey's proud of its success at smashing recycling targets, but is it really good enough? And what about the councils that are lagging behind?

Even if we take Surrey's landfill costs as being average rather than lower than those of other councils, and multiply the figure by the number of local councils throughout the UK, that's an awful lot of our money being needlessly wasted, isn't it? 

And of course waste disposal isn't simply a UK problem, is it? It's a global one. The costs of sending perfectly reusable items to landfill are phenomenal and the practice itself is damaging our environment.

More MUST be done globally to ensure that we as consumers do everything we can to reduce the volume of unwanted goods that ends up in landfill. One person's rubbish will be another's treasure and there are many ways (charity shops, car boot or garage sales, Gumtree, e-bay etc.) to marry the two up. Perhaps we need to be forced to take advantage of these or perhaps other more comprehensive schemes should be set up.

Either way, something needs to be done quickly as we're running out of landfill space and our governments don't exactly have a lot of money to splash around, so what they do have, really shouldn't be wasted.

If only I'd been recycling my things when that sailing boat was brought in!

8th September 2011

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