The European Commission has given the UK a political pat on the back for its efforts on recycling in the past year. Apparently, the UK achieved ‘rapid increase’ in our municipal waste recycling rate when compared to our figures in 2000. If, like me, you’re sensing the impending and inevitable ‘But’, then you’d be spot on. A progress report has highlighted the fact that much more could be done in this disposable era we live in to reduce our environmental impact.
But let us bask in the glory of a minor social success for a wee while, the UK doesn’t usually get singled out as being ‘top performers’ in Europe, unless it’s teenage pregnancies or knife-crime. But it would seem we are all getting more environmentally conscience, with tighter government legislation on waste and landfill, it would seem the dormant eco-warrior in all of us has stirred.
The new report, which assesses recycling rates, extent of reuse and incineration levels, amongst other sure-fire topics to guarantee you’re ignored at a party, has singled out Germany, Belgium and Holland for particular praise as the very highest performers in Europe.
At the very heart of the report is the huge disparity between EU member states with regards to waste sent to landfill. Denmark for example, only landfill 5% of their muck, whereas England posted a percentage of 55, some countries landfill 90% of their waste. The average across all member states stands at around 40%.
Greater headway has been made in the area of organic recycling, the EU is expecting to save 20.6 million tonnes of biodegradable waste from ending up in landfill, using instead anaerobic recycling methods – that’s an awful lot of compost.
So it would seem the message is clear. The EC wants Europe to become a ‘resource efficient economy’; another review is planned for 2012 where the UK will be hoping to build upon our recent encouraging performance.
We can all start our own green revolution from the comfort of our own homes. Mobile phone recycling has become a major weapon in our war against waste, and selling phones online can also pocket you a tidy sum of money in the process.