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To: Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Introduce a National Recycling Policy
Recycling policies are different in every council, leading to confusion, poor recycling rates and unnecessary waste going into landfill. A nation-wide overhaul of recycling schemes is well overdue. Please show true leadership and introduce a national recycling policy, with rules applicable to each and every council.
Why is this important?
I've lived in four different counties in England and Wales over the past decade and it's struck me that despite wanting to recycle, every time I moved, I had to do hours of research to find out what was locally recyclable and what wasn't.
Why can I recycle polypropylene (plastic no. 5) in Northamptonshire, but not in West Yorkshire? Why do I have to throw out into general waste what I could recycle, were I in a different county? Should I keep all that waste and recycle it at a friend's house 150 miles from my own? This is not an acceptable state of affairs.
All we want to do is the right thing: divert unnecessary waste from landfill. Landfills use land, pollute waterways and the air we breathe. They affect humans, animals and plants alike. Landfill should be a last resort for our waste, and recycling should not be an uphill battle.
Many manufacturers want to do their bit too. But when there are different rules in different councils, how can they ensure that their packaging can actually be recycled everywhere and not in just a few areas? How can they be expected to solve such a massive problem?
Locally managed recycling schemes don't work for consumers or manufacturers. They add to confusion and frustration.
A nation-wide recycling policy would reduce unnecessary waste going into landfill and make the most of existing facilities. It would lead to less confusion and higher recycling rates. It would also allow manufacturers to make economically safe, more environmentally-friendly decisions about their products and their packaging.
The more we recycle, the less waste goes into landfill and the lower our impact on our environment is.
Calls for a unified recycling policy and kerbside collection have been made over a decade ago.(*) This issue is only growing in importance. The time has come to show some real leadership and do the right thing.
* Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford, in 'Guy's Rant: The Plastic Problem', https://youtu.be/Cylp_tTrSZg?t=208