England’s new recycling road map

In the introductory comments to the 124-page ‘Waste strategy for England 2007’, the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) hails ‘major progress’ in recycling rates since the year 2000 but immediately counters with the assertion that England’s performance on waste ‘still lags behind many European countries’.  Designed to be a road map highlighting the possible routes to a significantly improved recycling performance over the next few years, this latest strategy document starts with the good news: recycling and composting of waste in England ‘has nearly quadrupled since 1996/97, achieving 27% in 2005/06’; meanwhile, the recycling of packaging has jumped from 27% to 56% since 1998. And DEFRA adds: ‘Public awareness of recycling has grown, with over half the population considering themselves committed recyclers.’ According to Minister for Waste Ben Bradshaw, however, ‘it has become quite clear that we have to raise our sights on waste policy by making faster progress in landfill diversion and recycling so as to reach the levels achieved by many of our European neighbours. These ambitions will not be achieved without bringing into play a new range of policy instruments and tools.’

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