A trip by Riverside Waste Machinery over the Welsh boarder to visit a longstanding customer was all the more pertinent this week as Wales continued to hit the headlines with its encouraging recycling rates.
Following an announcement in March by the Welsh Government that Wales was the first UK country to recycle more than it sends to landfill, it does indeed appear to be leading the way in waste management.
Year on year the country has clearly improved waste processing procedures to achieve its latest 52 percent recycling rate. In the year to March 2012, local authorities in Wales recycled almost 800,000 tonnes of waste, which tipped the balance against around 700,000 tonnes which was sent to landfill. This surpasses England’s current rate of around 42 percent which some say is stuck in a rut due to lack of commitment and bad decision making.
Whatever the reason, this is clearly a broad issue and one that some local authorities seem more able to manage than others. Only 73 English councils report a recycling rate of 50 percent or above so it is these that we would hope will set the precedent for the rest to follow.
One such council is Leeds which is currently achieving a 52% recycling rate. This follows the first phase roll out of a new scheme of alternate black and green bin collections from 56,000 households which decreased the amount of waste sent to landfill by 23 per cent during the first 12 weeks alone. Leeds City Council estimates that by 2014/15 when the system is broadened out to 80 per cent of the city, savings of £2.5m per year will be made and the recycling rate will increase significantly more.
Whilst Riverside Waste Machinery’s expertise lies in waste balers, we will continue with great interest to not only watch, but to help work towards reduced landfill targets, no matter what part of the UK they originate from. It is surely achievable if all stakeholders – from councils collecting household waste and companies baling and managing waste streams to the average family recycling their plastic bottles – understand exactly how their decisions impact on all those important recycling rates.