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DEFRA decides to lead by example on recycling

By John McKenna

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has decided to lead by example by setting new recycling and purchasing targets for Government departments.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said that departments would have to raise their recycling and composting levels by at least 5% per annum with a goal of reaching a 75% recycling and composting level. They will also have to purchase greater proportions of reusable and recyclable products, recycled-content materials and return used products to manufacturers.

Each department will have to justify publicly its actions and the timescales it sets itself to deliver the targets, she said.

New targets will measure progress by Government departments on:

l Implementing strategies for sustainable waste management

l Improving data collection on waste streams

l Reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting rates

l Using more sustainable methods to manage waste

l Setting waste clauses in estate management contracts

Beckett added: All Government departments have to embrace the cultural shift away from landfill.

Local authorities have had challenging recycling targets to meet for some time and Beckett believed it is time for the Government to lead by example. We will ensure our own waste management is sustainable.

A spokesman for the Local Authorities Recycling Advisory Committee welcomed the news and said that following a similar move by the Welsh assembly, it was good to see the Government putting its house in order.

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