Millions are spent but ‘the amount of recycling down’

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Millions of pounds have been spent on recycling initiatives all across the councils of the United Kingdom but, it would appear, the amount of waste being recycled has actually fallen.

It is getting so bad, it would seem, that many councils are hitting on novel idea to boots recycling rates, such as prizes for the best recyclers in Manchester.

Will it work? Personally I seriously doubt it.

What will work, however, is financial incentive in the way it is being done in other countries of Europe and in places in the United States.

The problem with Britain is that local and central governments take the people for mugs and have them, more of than not, do the donkey work of cleaning, removing labels, etc., without getting anything for it in monetary terms.

Had this country, however, recycling centers, as they do in the USA, where people bring in recyclables and get paid cash for it I am certain that the rate of recyclables being brought in would increase a hundredfold.

While it is true that there might also be some that would go and steal the likes of copper cables, lead flashing from roofs, etc., in order to flog them to the recycling centers for cash, this is happening even without such recycling centers. Many scrap dealers don't seem to ask awkward questions and buy the stolen goods.

Recycling centers, properly run and controlled might, in actual fact, cut down on that type of crime.

Reverse vending machines as they are in use for aluminium cans in the United States and for glass bottles (and also now, so I understand, for plastic bottles) in Germany, would also be a way to go.

If people would get reimbursed for their troubles of collecting and bringing in the stuff I am certain, as I have said already, recycling rates would go through the roof.

But what is it with the three “Rs” that suddenly seem to be the same word all the time. All that people are told is to recycle. What has happened to the reduce and the reuse. No one gives them ideas as to how to reduce and especially also how to reuse and what to reuse. And, unfortunately, it is a case nowadays that people will have to be told what they can reuse what for and what they can make from this or that item of waste. Common sense and imagination seem to have rather gone out of the window.

Back to the financial incentives deal, however.

Without financial incentives it is becoming a bore to people, unless they are highly motivated environmentally conscious people, to clean every tin can and every glass jar and then to separate all the recyclables all the time. So something needs to be done that makes it worth their while. Otherwise the downhill curve will continue.

Another thought on this matter though is... has anyone checked as to whether the actual amount of collected waste has not eventually also dropped, rather than just the amount of recyclables? I wonder...

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