Few people would argue that recycling rates and services have improved significantly over the last ten years, but not many understand just how dramatic the shift has been. Here are just a few ways in which the practice has improved throughout the country.
Recycling Rates Grew Faster Than Anywhere Else in Europe
During the last decade, the UK has spent millions of pounds developing a strong recycling network and raising public awareness, and that has resulted in the most dramatic rise in recycling rates seen anywhere in the European Union.
The European Environment Agency has previously stated that all EU countries should be recycling 50% of their waste by 2020. Many countries are still well behind in their efforts to meet such a goal, but the UK has reached 39%. That’s on a par with the average for the EU, and it represents a dramatic rise that is set to continue.
Introduction of the Bag Charge
It has been estimated that over 7.6 billion single-use plastic bags were given to customers of the major UK supermarkets during 2014 alone. That’s around 140 bags p/person, equating 61,000 tonnes overall. Plastic bags cannot be recycled and consume massive amounts of resources to be made, so curbing their use is a critical step towards the use of recyclable alternatives.
A 5p charge has now been introduced. Similar charges have been used in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with a consequent drop in use by up to 79%. The government expects the new charge to see the use of single-use plastic carrier bags drop by as much as 80% in
supermarkets and 50% on the high street. This should fuel the use of eco-friendly, recyclable bagging options, such as those made of cotton.
A Growth of the Industry
The recycling industry itself has experienced massive growth. The sector is now thought to be worth around £8 billion, an increase of 60% over five years. That’s down to government action, an increase in public awareness, and the spotlight that is regularly directed at businesses that fail to meet recycling targets.
The growth of the industry plays back into those factors. There are now more ways than ever for a company to recycle its waste, with regular collections and services available for the proper disposal of electrical equipment.
It’s now easier and more cost-effective than ever to recycle, so make sure you’re taking advantage of the latest services.