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Bates' household waste under BBC microscope

Waste management expert Margaret Bates has allowed the BBC to scrutinise her domestic recycling habits to chart where recyclates and residual materials end up.

Inside Out, a BBC East programme to be broadcast this evening, weighs all her waste, logs where it goes, how it is processed and what happens to it.

The experience prompts Bates (pictured), professor of sustainable waste at the University of Northampton, to make a personal and a general conclusion.

“Having looked at my waste and what I have just put out – probably more carefully than I have ever looked at my own waste before – I think I will be much more aware of the level of packaging I buy and try to buy things loosely such as vegetables and fruit.

“But ideally what we would like is to have the reprocessing infrastructure all in the UK because then it means we are keeping the value of our materials rather than having to send it off only to then buy it back from those countries.”

The programme will be broadcast on Inside Out East on at 19:30 on BBC One (7 March)

In a separate report, the BBC says that household waste has risen in nearly 60% of council areas in the past three years, based on research into official figures.

The article considers three local authorities as case studies: the Isles of Scilly, Swindon and Vale of White Horse.

Bates said the rise was partly down to people spending more again in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis.

“But also there is some evidence that people are becoming a bit apathetic about recycling as well, because recycling rates have plateaued.”

Linda Crichton, head of resource management at WRAP, said barriers to recycling included not believing there was an environmental benefit, confusion about what to put where and lack of a household routine.

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