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Cambridgeshire high in recycling league

Cambridgeshire has one of the highest recycling rates in England.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 182,965 tonnes of rubbish was recycled or composted in Cambridgeshire, according to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures. That is 56 per cent of the authority’s waste.

Waste and recycling depot in King’s Lynn (6291292)
Waste and recycling depot in King’s Lynn (6291292)

The government wants half of the country’s household waste to be recycled by 2020. In 2017-18, England recycled 42 per cent of its rubbish.

Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire combined their waste collection services in 2017 and have been busy working to improve their recycling figures.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for environmental services and licensing, Cllr Neil Gough, said: “We are encouraged that recycling rates across Greater Cambridge are rising and want to thank our residents for their efforts.

"However, there is still work to do and that’s why we’ll continue doing all we can to make it easier for residents to recycle as much as they possibly can.

"Every last plastic bottle, glass jar or metal can really does make a difference. It uses far less energy, and creates much less pollution, when items are recycled rather than made from scratch. We want to put the environment at the centre at everything we do, and by recycling right residents can do too.”

Cambridge City Council’s executive councillor for environmental services and city centre, Cllr Rosy Moore, said: “We’re determined to keep working to increase our local recycling rates, not only because it’s the right thing to do for the environment, but because it generates income for the councils that goes towards vital frontline services that residents rely on.

"It’s very important to recycle only the correct items in your blue bin. It costs the Council thousands of pounds each month to remove incorrect items, and things like food or liquids can lower the quality of the rest of the recycling inside.

"Our website is a great source of information if you’re trying to find out what goes in which bin, so I’d urge residents to use our online A to Z. If you’re in doubt – leave it out.”

Councillor Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s environment spokesman, said: “The best way to boost recycling rates is to prevent unrecyclable waste from entering the environment in the first place.

“Councils are keen to work with supermarkets and manufacturers so that they can switch to recyclable packaging where possible.”

Landfill was the second most common way of disposing of rubbish in Cambridgeshire.

About 112,043 tonnes of waste was buried in landfill sites, 34 per cent of the total.

Incinerator plants burned one per cent of the total waste, far lower than the national rate of 42 per cent.

A cross-party report, launched in July in the House of Lords, called on the government to take oversight of the industry and introduce an incineration tax.

Research revealed that incinerators in England polluted more last year than a quarter-of-a-million lorries travelling 75,000 miles.

Shlomo Dowen, of United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), believes most of the waste being incinerated could be recycled.

He said: “We need to stop burning recyclable material, and this means we need to stop building new incinerators.

“Separate collection of food waste should be accompanied by increasing the range of recyclable material collected at the kerbside, and the government needs to introduce an incineration tax to ensure that those sending waste for incineration pay the cost of the pollution they cause.”

There has been growing concern over the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans, with David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II shining a light on how plastic is affecting our marine wildlife. It is thought more than eight million tonnes is dumped into the world’s oceans annually.

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