Increased level of recycling – but new”bin charges” imminent

On the day of the Queen's Speech this year, the government released figures that showed household recycling of rubbish has trebled in the past six years.The amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites fell from 22 million tons six years ago to less than 17 million tons this year – the lowest level in over 20 years. (I, 7 November 2007).Despite this, legislation to allow councils to bring in charges for disposal of rubbish was included in the Queen's Speech.

Local government spokesman Eric Pickles said:”This revelation destroys the case for hated new bin taxes being slapped on family homes.Bin taxes aren't needed to increase recycling, they're just an excuse to tax more by stealth.”(Daily Mail, 7 November 2007)

However, up to 40% of the packaging in an average household shopping basket cannot be recycled.A survey for the Local Government Association also found that 5% of the contents of shopping baskets was made up of packaging (The Times Online, 23 October 2007).This suggests that perhaps more can be done to reduce UK waste levels.

For a model on corporate recycling, look at The Times 100 case study on Corus, which outlines how the company makes sure that all wastes are handled properly.It has created key targets for managing and reducing emissions and continually seeks new ways of reducing the amount of energy used in its manufacturing and recycling operations.


The Times 100 Case Study – Corus, Sustainable business at Corus

Supermarkets 'foil' recycling” – The Times Online – 23 October 2007

“'Pay as you throw rubbish charges back on agenda to boost recycling” – The Times Online – 30 October 2007

Britain needs to recycle more waste” – BBC Radio 4

Potential Study Questions:

  • Recycling at Corus is part of its sustainable development programme.Define”sustainable development”.
  • To what extent might increasing its level of recycling affect a company's sustainable economic growth in the short and long term?

For most people, recycling as a way of reducing the amount sent to landfills is considered positive behaviour.However, some critics suggest that recycling isn't as green as we think.Using the links below, assess the criticisms of recycling:

'Recycling is a waste of time – The Times Online, 23 October 2007

'Sorting waste is a pain, but I'll do my bit – The Times Online