Information from the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs shows an increase of 40% in recycled material in the past three years that was sent to the landfill. This data shows for the first time how councils are being lax in making sure was is collected is getting processed correctly.
The most recent figures from Waste Data Flow indicate that 2009/10 had an increase of 50,000 tons to a total of 184,000 in two years was received at landfill or incinerators that could have been recycled.
Councils have been blamed by environmental groups that they are failing to educate sufficiently the household about what materials to place for recycling or failing to arrange an efficient sorting system to handle the increased amount of material.
If contaminated with wrong material then recycling must be dumped for example putting newspapers in along with crushed glass, low quality recycling like cardboard that is covered in food waste needs to be thrown away.
Campaign for Real Recycling’ Mal Williams blames the system for example when councils collect entirely different streams like plastic, paper and cardboard in the same bag. Close to 10% of all the material that comes in needs to be dumped since it is incorrectly mixed.
A Campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Julian Kirby said councils need to ensure that material collected to be sent for recycling is processed correctly instead of it eventually being burned or dumped.
What is important is not how much we do in terms of recycling it is how it is done. Recycling rates are improving says many but the problem now is that the collection systems must improve. In order to minimize damage to the environment we need to keep getting better to avoid fines from the EU and for not reaching landfill targets.