A NEW REPORT from a Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) committee has called for the government to take the lead in increasing the rate of recycling in the UK.
Its reports, published earlier this week, called for more to be done to help households reduce waste to landfill, as figures showed that the average person in England throws away five times their body weight a year, adding up to 22.6m tons of household waste annually.
MPs on the committee said the stall in recycling rates – which were at 12.5% in 2001 and grew significantly each year before stopping at 43% in 2011 and rising by just 0.2% points the following year – showed there was a need for greater, not less, government intervention. Under an EU targets, households must recycle 50% by 2020, and potentially up to 70% by 2030.
“We need government to step in and pick up the pieces if needs be,” said Anne McIntosh, the committee’s chair. “Obviously I’m very much in favour of the market but where we seem to have been slow in this country is in recognising waste as a resource; it’s an economic commodity.
“There well may be a time when government can stand back, but at such an early stage, when we could be missing opportunities and councils need guidance, the evidence we heard is that Defra should take a lead role.”