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England’s recycling rates may be eclipsed by incineration of waste

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 10:51:31

A report from the Green Party has shown that serious action is needed to avoid household recycling rates in England being overtaken by the sheer volumes of waste that local authorities are being sent to be incinerated, according to the Guardian.

Between 2010 and 2017 there was a threefold increase in waste incineration across the country, while over the past five years the levels of recycling seen amongst domestic residents nationwide have hit a plateau.

If this trend continues then incineration will outpace recycling within the next year, which is clearly a problem from an environmental perspective.

Burning waste rather than sorting it for recycling creates a range of harmful emissions and is seen as a missed opportunity in terms of the resources that can be reclaimed.

The good news is that the levels of waste which are being sent to landfill are steadily declining, although this is partly to do with the amount of landfill capacity that is available, rather than as a result of any altruistic effort by councils to go green.

Last year around 10 million tonnes of waste were incinerated, just behind the 11 million tonnes that were either recycled or composted.

The incineration process is not an entirely wasteful one, as a growing number of facilities which convert the energy produced into electricity is growing and it could be seen as a positive step, rather than a negative one. However, the carbon footprint of this trend still remains problematic and there is an eagerness amongst many campaigners to encourage more councils to move away from incinerating waste and redouble their recycling efforts.

Reuse is of course the most ecologically and environmentally sustainable option for consumers to pursue, while avoiding non-essential packaging waste in the first place is also sensible.




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