UK homes face fines for incorrect recycling

Local councils could soon be handing out fines to households that fail to recycle correctly amid growing pressure to cut down on the amount of waste sent to landfills across the UK every year.

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That is according to plans reported today by BusinessWaste.co.uk, which would see incorrectly sorted items sent back to homes so they can be recycled properly in an effort to “shock repeat offenders”.

A fee would then be charged for returning the recyclable goods, which it is hoped will go some way to reduce the many billions of pounds councils spend each year on waste management.

“It may seem like an excessive move, but with recycling bins provided to all households, there’s no excuse not to take a few seconds to separate waste,” said Mark Hall, spokesperson at BusinessWaste.co.uk.

“This is certainly one way to turbo-charge recycling growth, especially for councils with historically low recycling rates - hopefully this will also prompt consumers into making more conscious decisions when they shop.”

A whopping 203 million tonnes of waste was handled at landfills across the UK in 2016, while councils budgeted a staggering £6.3bn for waste management last year.

Despite huge improvements in recycling rates among the general public, many authorities are under increased pressure to reduce the burden of landfill fees and meet strict targets.

While many households may worry that the plans will mean more time- waste disposal routines, BusinessWaste.co.uk said they would not add any extra difficulties to the process. 

It is though that the new measures will follow existing recycling guidelines, with penalties only incurred by those who fail to place recyclable materials in their usual designated bins.

BusinessWaste.co.uk said that issuing fines might not be the best approach, but that it might force households to think more closely about the environmental costs of waste management. 

“Of course, we don’t necessarily agree with levying charges on homeowners as a punitive measure,” Hall continued.

“We’d like to see councils and local government take an educational approach to ensure that the general public are well-informed of the benefits of recycling, which is a more positive way to help form life-long habits.”

 

Image credit | iStock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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