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UK struggling to meet EU recycling goal

United Kingdom – Recycling experts have warned that the UK’s recycling rates will fall for the first time in over 10 years, the Telegraph newspaper has reported. Factoring in local authority budget cuts, ‘complicated’ recycling bins and a downward spiral in the newspaper and glass markets, the government is said to be likely to miss the EU recycling target and to end up paying out millions of pounds in fines.

UK households increased the volumes of waste recycled from 11% in the year 2000 to 43% in 2012. But SITA UK notes that the rate of increase has been at a relative ′standstill′ of late, rising just 0.2% over the 2012-13 period.

Separate kerbside collections of glass and cans dropped by 10% while paper and cardboard volumes slid 6% over 2012-13. And following further analysis, SITA expects the 2013-14 figures to have fallen by ′at least 2%′.

While pointing out that overall waste levels are declining, the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says the ′insufficient′ recycling results have set in motion efforts to ensure the UK meets the EU’s 50% target. However, SITA argues that this process will be both difficult and expensive.

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