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As you are no doubt aware, I have written several comment pieces in the 560 issues of Cleanzine we’ve produced, to grouse about the vagaries of this nation’s recycling processes – which, I understand, are echoed throughout much of the developed world. I find it daft that the responsibility often rests on individual householders to separate their recyclables into the correct receptacles for regular collection.
Why daft? Well, because if people get it wrong – which they often do - the load can be classed as contaminated and will either be vastly devalued or even deemed worthless and consequently sent to landfill. I’m a keen recycler and I hadn’t realised our local system had changed for some months (or even longer!) so what hope is there for people who just aren’t that bothered? I strongly believe that we should just put everything into one ‘recyclables’ bin for the experts to separate at the municipal waste centre. It’s become the norm for jobs to be outsourced to those trained and qualified to carry them out, so why on earth leave something so crucial to people like me?
I was delighted to learn this week that following a Judicial Review, Mr Justice Hickinbottom has given the thumbs up to the system I think we should follow – co-mingling or single-stream recycling to give it the correct term. He said that he broadly supports the Defra and Welsh Government position that co-mingled recycling collections can, and do, meet the requirements of the revised European Waste Framework Directive and can produce a high quality recyclate. Some common sense at last then!
As I’ve said before, such a system takes the guesswork out of the recycling process, leaves our streets, driveways and front gardens less cluttered with the various bins we currently need and creates much needed jobs for those who may right now be out of work and claiming benefits. Further, the waste can be properly sorted so that each bale can be sold for its full worth, bringing much needed funding back into the local authority’s coffers.
I do so hope that now the legal position has been clarified, more local authorities will start to adopt the co-mingling process!
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7th March 2013