RECYCLING is more important than ever.
The most recent figures from the government show that, after a period of flatlining, average recycling rates have started to go down from almost 45 per cent in 2014 to 43.9 per cent in 2015.
Hampshire authorities continue to struggle to meet even the national average with the best of them, Eastleigh, achieving almost 41 per cent.
At the other end of the scale Portsmouth manages a paltry 22.7 per cent slightly below Gosport’s 23.5 per cent.
But some authorities, like South Oxfordshire and Surrey Heath, are up in the mid sixties, so it can be done.
The EU had set a target for the UK at 50 per cent by 2020 but that was before Brexit so the outlook is now less clear.
Contributory factors for the decline include lower commodity prices for plastics, steel and pulp plus deep cuts to local authority funding affecting staff whose role was to promote the benefits of recycling.
Hampshire County Council claims it sends less household waste to landfill than most other authorities.
But it omits to mention how much of the waste stream is diverted into the county’s hungry incinerators, including spoiled batches of green material that could otherwise have been recycled.
Incineration is now described in more user-friendly language as ‘energy from waste’ but ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ is better.
The case for recycling remains stronger than ever as it helps to conserve the world’s dwindling stocks of raw materials, saves energy, reduces emissions and creates new jobs.
It’s also a process everybody can contribute to and thus play an active part in protecting the planet for future generations.
Hopefully, the government elected on June 8 will take recycling more seriously than the one it replaces.