The value of recycling – why sorting your waste IS worthwhile!

May 15th, 2013 by becky Leave a reply »

RecycleTruckThere has been some negative press about the value of recycling recently, so I felt compelled to explain what happens to recycling in Oxfordshire, and some of the things which are done to help ensure that as much is recycled as possible.

Councils are not only responsible for finding companies who will process their recycling, but also have an obligation to ensure that the companies they give it to are properly licensed to deal with the waste. An audit trail of paperwork including weighbridge tickets, waste transfer and consignment notes, and environmental permits are scrutinised and checked to ensure that the place where the waste eventually ends up is somewhere that will be recycling it as agreed. The Environment Agency carries out regular audits to check that councils know all of the end destinations of their recycling.

For the last few years the government has set a landfill tax at an escalating scale, which is now at £72 per tonne, which is aimed to disincentivise using landfill. This tax, plus the gate fee of using landfill sites set by the operator, means that the average cost of disposing of a lorry full of waste is over £1000. this makes it much for financially, as well as environmentally, important for councils to ensure that as much is recycled as possible.

In Oxfordshire the 5 district councils and county council work together as part of the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership and have recently published details of what happens to recycling in the county. This can be found at http://www.cagoxfordshire.org.uk/news-archive/344-where-does-oxfordshires-recycling-end-up. The need to be transparent and offer residents more information on what happens after they put their boxes or bins out is recognised to be extremely important and has been shown to increase recycling rates.

Oxfordshire residents should be extremely proud that we currently have the best recycling rate of any other county – just over 60% of all waste was recycled or compost in 2012/13. We also generate the lowest amount of waste per head of any other county. Of course, there is still more we can do, including considering ways to reduce the amount of waste and recycling we produce generally, such as selecting items with less packaging, using reusable nappies or simply taking reusable bags with us when we go shopping. More waste reduction tips can be found at http://www.oxfordshirewaste.gov.uk/wps/wcm/connect/occ/OWP/Home/Reduce+and+reuse/. Lets help to make sure Oxfordshire stays top of the recycling league table! 

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1 comment

  1. peter.lefort says:

    Great article! Even though curbside recycling is still relatively new it is still very easy to take it for granted. Excellent service.

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