Nothing wasted, so it is claimed, as supposed recycling rate soars

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Epsom and Ewell Council, in the county of Surrey, in Britain, is on course, statistically, to have one of the highest waste recycling rates in the country.

The new recycling system that was started to be introduced in the borough in March has now been extended to finally be covering the whole of the district.

The council now offers a kerbside recycling service for food waste, plastic bottles and cardboard.

People using the new service people in the initial areas of the the borough have boosted their recycling rate to more than 55 per cent.

This means the borough is on course to recycle and compost one of the highest proportions of waste in the country while the cost of the service remains below the national average.

On average, the council is collecting about 30 tonnes of food waste for composting every week and about 20 tonnes of plastic bottles and cardboard for recycling.

The question for the cynics here though remains as to how much of the bottles and the cardboard really is, in the end, recycled and does not end up in landfill due to, say, lack of demand for the “raw material”, that is to say, the bottles and cardboard by the re-processors. This was the case not so long ago countrywide with glass bottles.

The problem is that this council, like so many others, as I understand it, does not take any other plastics for recycling bar bottles and they have to be #1 and/or #2. There are basically no facilities anywhere in this country to deal with any other plastics which, theoretically, are recyclable.

Reduction and upcycling must be the first priority in the fight against waste and not only the recycling idea of processing the articles, such as the bottles and the cardboard, via a breaking-down process, to new plastic and paper/board.

Also, as we have discussed before, it is not possible to make new plastic from 100% recycled and the same goes for paper and board if it is to be of any strength.

Reuse and upcycling we need to look at at a much larger scale than only recycling.

Why can cardboard boxes not go back to a supplier for reuse, for instance, or have companies actually collect them and resell them to people wanting boxes. It is done in some places and countries. Sure this can be done in Britain and elsewhere too.

© 2009