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Schools should not be charged to recycle, warn MPs

A group of MPs have tabled a cross party motion in Parliament calling on the Government to ensure schools are not charged to recycle.

The MPs who tabled the motion include Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment Martin Horwood, Labour Party MP for Reading West Martin Salter, and Conservative Party MP for Suffolk South Tim Yeo.

According to the UK Youth Parliament [a youth organisation in the UK] survey, 73 per cent of councils in England do not provide a full recycling service for schools for free. The organisation fears that many councils that do offer the service will start charging in the future as the recession takes its toll.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently reviewing the Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations and whether councils should provide free disposal to institutions like schools and hospitals. It is planning a full consultation with stakeholders this summer.

The Early Day Motion stated: That this House notes the important role recycling has in the sustainable use of resources and in protecting the environment and that according to the Waste & Resources Action Program, 78 per cent of schools waste could be easily recycled or composted. It also quoted the Youth Parliament survey that many councils do not provide a full recycling service and that a third of local authorities classify schools recycling waste as trade waste despite Government recommendations. It also said that many councils that do offer the service [for free] may need to start charging in the future.

Horwood explained: Considering the current environmental and economic situation, it is imperative to give schools all the help we can to recycle their waste. Not only would a free service save schools money, it would allow children to gain an understanding of environmental stewardship and responsibility. This is an outcome that cannot be lost just because Government and local authorities have failed to sort out the funding arrangements. I fully support the UK Youth Parliament campaign to make recycling in schools free and compulsory.

The UK Youth Parliament consists of democratically elected members aged between 11 and 18.
Member of Youth Parliament Catherine Rawsthorne said: It is outrageous that young people, who are encouraged to take green issues seriously, are finding their efforts to recycle thwarted by their local councils. We know that effective recycling actually saves money but at the moment we seem to be in a no win situation where schools and councils are losing out financially and environmentally.

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