Recycling tackles global warming and does not add to it, according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme.
WRAP said that recycling continues to be the best option for UK waste management. WRAPs comments come in response to remarks made by Government recycling adviser Peter Jones to the BBC (27 January) in which he called to review how recycling is affecting global warming (see MRW story).His comments also appeared in The Telegraph.
In a statement issued after the BBC report Jones said: At the moment I believe there are effective and successful policies in place for composting and recycling but that we need as full an understanding as possible of the carbon implications of all collection and treatment methods of our rubbish to demonstrate the substantial additional further savings that can be made.
WRAP chief executive Dr Liz Goodwin said that media reports that suggest recycling adds to global warming threaten the environmental benefits currently being delivered by the public through the UKs recycling schemes.
She added: WRAPs independent research carried out by internationally recognised experts, has shown that across the board recycling is the best environmental option. It is when recycling is not an option that recovery of energy from waste can contribute to a balanced energy policy.
Recycling is good for the environment, saves energy, reduces raw material extraction and helps combat climate change.
WRAP research shows that the 8.6 million tonnes of paper the UK recycled here and abroad last year has saved the equivalent of 11 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. The research also shows that more energy is saved by recycling plastics than is gained by burning them.
Around two thirds of households now recycle as a way of life. The message to householders is that recycling is delivering great environmental benefits and there is absolutely no reason for them to stop, said Goodwin.
Friends of the Earth campaigner for waste resources Becky Slater agreed with WRAP. She also said that Jones remarks may have been taken out of context and he was really referring to different systems of recycling and which collection methods are more carbon emission friendly: source segregated or commingled. She added that recycling was better than incineration where valuable resources end up in smoke.
Community Recycling Network coordinator Andy Moore said: We know Peter wouldn't promote incineration over recycling and it seems to me he was talking about other forms of energy recovery. He tried to say something considered and balanced but was taken out of context quite badly and has my sympathy. Not the sort of thing one expects of the quality press.