The Local Government Association has heaped praised on the public for helping to increase recycling rates in the UK.
Speaking to MRW Bettison said: On domestic waste we have gone from nowhere to 33% - that is great. Yes, we are not up to the levels that Holland or Germany is at but they have been doing this for generations.
He said that the Great British public do not get praised enough for the amount of recycling that they do.
Councils have facilitated this successful recycling rate but it has mostly been done by residents. It should be their victory because they are the ones that have had their kitchens turned upside down and changed their way of doing things, he added.
They have had to organise their kitchens and personal space. People have been great; they have had everything from swing bins to boxes to put their cardboard in and crates put in their kitchens.
We are so grateful to the public they have done a wonderful job and responded so well. Sometimes you have had councils in the past who have not been fully great in communicating messages of new changes. If you share with the public that you have to take the lid off plastic bottles before recycling them then they will do it. If you dont share this information then you will get them saying things like I am not listening to those puffed up mandarins, stuff em, I will just stick my yoghurt pots in the recycling box. Councils who have explained this clearly to their residents have had much better results.
Bettison explained that the unsung heroes were people who gave up their time to voluntarily work in charity shops because they raise funds for charity and stop waste going to landfill.
According to the Association of Charity Shops, there are around 7,500 charity shops in the UK which take in 250,000 tonnes of textiles a year and less than 1% of that goes to landfill.
Head of policy and public affairs David Moir said he welcomed Bettisons comments and said that charities also diverted items such as books and DVDs away from landfill.
Bettison also said that the recycling message should not be lost because we are in a recession: Recessions come and recessions go and we have seen them before and they eventually come to an end. But we do not want to get to a point where the recession has ended and we have screwed up the planet.