For many people in Britain, recycling has become a part of life. Virtually all households can take part in a recycling scheme of some description that lets them recycle items such as paper, card and plastic, rather than having those items get sent straight to a landfill site somewhere.
The facilities provided by a householder’s local authority are typically wheelie bins, containers or recycling sacks such as those shown in the photograph above. Although there have been great improvements over recent years to increase the number of recycling services, including copper recycling and metal recycling, available to householders, very little has been done for commercial or trade recycling.
The problems associated with household recycling
My own local authority has only recently started accepting plastic for recycling even though it has been offering kerbside recycling facilities for many years. Sadly, a number of local authorities across the United Kingdom still don’t offer such basic recycling for its inhabitants.
Even though people could take a trip to their local recycling centre with whatever items they cannot recycle through their kerbside recycling facilities, the sad truth is a lot of people do not do this; either because they do not have the time to travel there or because the nearest recycling centre does not have the facilities that they need.
The problems associated with commercial recycling
Not all local authorities offer commercial recycling services for businesses, and the ones that do are typically quite expensive. Because of these facts, businesses have little incentive to recycle any of their waste.
Recycling companies such as Recycling4You offer all of the facilities available to householders and more, and although as a business you still need to pay for them, the services offered represent excellent value for money in comparison to what might be offered by the local authorities.
Could anything more be done to encourage recycling?
There are quite a few things that could be done to encourage recycling, both for domestic and commercial recycling. Here are just a few ideas:
Offer better kerbside recycling facilities for householders – at the moment there are a few things that your local authority will not recycle such as Tetra Pak cartons (probably because the only paper mill that could recycle them closed down in 2006);
Build more recycling plants – following on from the point above about Tetra Pak, if there were more recycling plants available within the UK, this would encourage everyone to recycle more;
Offer businesses an incentive for plastic and metal recycling – for example, if businesses recycled more waste than they sent to landfill, they could be given a discount off their business rates. This would result in lower expenses for the business, and obviously less waste being sent to landfill.
There are a number of “scrapstores” which operate across the United Kingdom. These non-profit organisations basically take any commercial waste which can be recycled, such as offcuts of fabric or plastic, for example, and sell them to the general plastic.
Local authorities could work closely with such organisations and with businesses in an effort to increase recycling in Britain.