British business lacks motivation to meet waste targetsSeptember 2015
Britain could achieve its 50% waste recycling target overnight if companies, organisations and individuals had the motivation, claims a leading environmental consultancy in a report just delivered to the government.
Yorkshire-based BusinessWaste.co.uk, which conducted the study, said even its own target of 70% recycling for businesses and homes could be achieved equally promptly.
The consultancy had wanted this figure to be reached within ten years, but director and spokesman Mark Hall said: “Ten years! What a joke! We could do that tomorrow if we could be bothered.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk, which formerly campaigned vigorously for plastic carrier bag charges, conducted the study. It points out that at present the UK recycles 45% of its waste, “a figure that’s stayed roughly the same for the last three years, and that’s a national disgrace”.
England, the biggest offender, produces 80% of Britain’s waste but does nothing to reduce it, says the report, while Scotland compels businesses to recycle as much as is practicable and Wales is due to follow suit.
BusinessWaste.co.uk points out that converting Britain into a European recycling leader instead of one of the losers would need little effort and a single cash injection, as on average the one-off cost to businesses would be only £2,500 ($3,900,€3,540), covering about two million new bins and skips.
It calculates that the cost would be offset by lower landfill tax payments and through tax write-offs.
The consultancy wants heavy penalties for companies that do not recycle, including maximum £100,000 fines for repeat offenders, help for companies to formulate waste policies, and allowances for smaller operators to run joint recycling schemes with neighbouring businesses.
Increasing recycling from 45% to 70% would keep 70 million tons of rubbish out of landfill every year, generating extra business for the specialist companies, creating jobs, and cutting the price of manufacturers’ supplies as recycled goods are cheaper, says the report.
Hall emphasises: “All we need is the political will for this to happen. But it appears that those in power are scared of the cost of setting the wheels in motion.
“The message from central government has been one of ‘Why bother?’ They came to office in 2010 saying they’d be the greenest government ever, and they’ve done virtually nothing on that front.
“We already have the ability to hit more ambitious targets, just not the will.”
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