Higher recycling targets for household waste and a more integrated approach to waste management were proposed by the Government, as it launched a major public consultation on its strategy for waste this week.
Increased recycling and composting targets for household waste went up “significantly” from 30% to 40% by 2010, and 33% to 45% by 2015. The Government wants to achieve 50% household recycling and composting by 2020.
Launching the 12-week waste strategy consultation, Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said the UK was on track to hit its target of recycling 25% of its household waste this year. But he added: “We are still way out of kilter and we still need to do a lot more.”
Bradshaw did praise the “positive progress” made, highlighting the fact that recycling and composting rates had doubled since 2000 and nearly 50% of packaging waste is now being recycled.
He said more effort was needed to produce less waste in the first instance, and that the waste hierarchy remained the same – placing reduction, re-use and recycling at the top. Bradshaw emphasised the need to “view waste as a resource” and move toward a “recycling culture”.
On the current system of weight-based targets, Bradshaw conceded that there was currently a disincentive to collect lighter materials such as plastic. And that the current weight-based system would be looked at in this review, “so we encourage recycling of all materials”.