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The Olympian and the politician launch recycling crusade

"The Big Recycle is all about letting people know what, where and how to recycle, so they can see for themselves how easy it is," said Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) chief executive officer Jennie Price.

Where better then, than a busy household recycling centre to launch the national campaign?

Among residents dropping off their garden waste, lumps of wood and old radiators Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) parliamentary secretary Ben Bradshaw set the wheels in motion for a week of awareness-raising events organised by local authorities and community groups in England and Wales.

Bradshaw said: "The polling data suggests that 90% of people know that it is important to recycle, but only 50% of people are committed recyclers, so we need to get the message out that it is easy to recycle."

He added that he was confident England would meet its target of recycling a quarter of municipal waste by 2006, as recycling levels were accelerating at a faster rate than ever before, with 47% increase in the number of kerbside collections in 2004.

Last year's Big Recycle's success was measured by the media coverage given to recycling during the week, in addition to a survey to find out how many members of the public had seen the national Recycle Now TV ads.

However, the success of this year's campaign, organised by WRAP, will be measured by the real impact it has on recycling levels.

WRAP director of policy and evaluation Ray Georgeson said: "All of the materials organisations that partner the campaign will be monitoring what comes to them to see if the Big Recycle and the Recycle Now ads have any impact on the tonnages they receive."

Those recycling firms partnering the campaign are British Glass, Corus, Novellis, PaperChain, Recoup, Corrugated Packaging Industry and Valpak.

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