England could hit waste targets “if we could be bothered”

Abfallcontainer (Foto: Kroll/Recyclingportal)

Leeds, UK — Britain could quite easily hit its 50 per cent waste recycling target overnight if only people, companies and organisations up and down the country could be bothered. At the moment, UK only recycles 45 per cent of our waste – a figure that’s stayed roughly the same for the last three years – and that’s a national disgrace to consider European partners currently aiming for 100 per cent recycling targets and hitting them, says a national waste management company.

According to, it would only take a relatively small effort and a one-off cash injection to provide the facilities to convert the UK from one of the losers in the European recycling waste to one of the leaders. „We could stop 70 million tons of waste going to landfill in just one year with new legislation“, the Yorkshire-based company estimates.

„Central government has done virtually nothing“

“The message from central government been one of ‚Why bother?‘,” says spokesperson Mark Hall. “They came to office in 2010 saying they’d be the ‚greenest government ever‘ and they’ve done virtually nothing on that front. We already have the ability to hit more ambitious targets, just not the will.” says it’s time for England to come into line with the rest of the UK and enact strict waste and recycling laws for companies organisations and schools. Scotland compels businesses to recycle as much as is practicable, and Wales is to follow up with a similar law. It’s only in England, home to 80 per cent of the UK’s waste output, that nothing is being done. “It’s time to wield a big stick on waste,” says Hall, “But also to be as helpful as possible to assist organisations into complying with any new law.” recommends:

  • Big fines for companies that do not recycle waste, up to £100,000 for repeat offenders
  • Tax credits to help companies and organisations offset the purchase price of new bins
  • Local help points to assist companies in formulating an effective waste policy
  • A 12-month amnesty at the start of the law to get as many companies up to speed as possible
  • Allowances for smaller companies to run joint recycling schemes with neighbouring businesses

The York-based waste management company estimates that up to two million new bins and skips would be required to make English companies compliant with any new law. says a one-off cash injection would be required, which could be offset against tax and reduced waste costs for most companies.

  • A new recycling law would mean one-off extra costs of around £2,500 for the average business
  • This cost would be offset year-after-year with reduced landfill tax payments
  • Arrangements should be made to allow the initial cost to be written off in corporate end-of-year tax returns.

The benefits for UK would be clear almost immediately:

  • A national jump from 45 per cent recycling to 70 per cent would take around 70 million tons of waste out of landfill every year, taking pressure off our nearly-full landfill sites
  • This would mean extra business for companies that recycle goods back into raw materials, generating jobs
  • It would also mean lower factory gate prices for many companies as they are purchasing cheaper recycled raw materials rather than having to buy ‘new’

“All we need is the political will for this to happen,” says Mark Hall, “But it appears that those in power are scared of the cost of setting the wheels in motion.” says that England could quite easily join the rest of the UK and parts of western Europe in taking a giant step toward waste and recycling targets overnight if the country just put its mind to it. “We’ve set a ten year target to reach 70 per cent recycling from homes and businesses,” says Business Waste’s Mark Hall. “Ten years! What a joke! We could do that tomorrow if we could be bothered.”