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Recycling – the Other Side of the Story…

By ATWadmin On January 17th, 2007

It’s Wednesday evening, and across my estate, all the neighbours are busy filling their recycling boxes with paper and plastics. As they faithfully leave their boxes outside, their consciences are once more cleansed and absolved by the knowledge that they are "doing their bit for the environment".

And who am I to deny them the right to their fantasies, even if their beliefs are contradicted by the evidence? After all, if peoples’ idea of ‘helping the environment’ means causing the carbon emissions of several thousand gallons of fuel on each cargo ship to China, and supporting slave-labour earnings of £50 per month with workers living in conditions of extreme, toxic pollution….

From the article: Leigh Atley runs a plastic recycling plant in the Cotswolds, built to the highest environmental standards. He’s losing millions of pounds in potential income – as well as the possibility of expanding his business and providing more jobs – because he can’t compete with Chinese waste dumps. "We need to have our own infrastructure in this country capable of recycling everything that we are producing every year," he told me. "And we are producing more and more."
But for now it’s simply cheaper to ship our problem to China. And it’s the people of Lianjiao who are suffering the consequences.


Is this the reality behind our so-called "environmentally friendly" recycling policy? It’s no use our government telling us all that we’ve got to "go green", but at the same time crippling British business with regulations, red tape, high taxes and soaring costs such as the minimum wage. The fact remains that "you can’t buck the market", and this is the inevitable result.  


15 Responses to “Recycling – the Other Side of the Story…”

  1. Obvious solution: let’s revert to dumping all our waste in landfill and forget this recycling nonsense.


  2. Its not that my conscience is cleansed really. It is more that i really do think that recycling is important and i dont need the government to tell me that. Burying our waste is clearly not an effective solution to plastics that take years and years to break down and it stands to reason that this pollution is damaging the environment simply by the volume it takes up. I dont feel terrific that the waste gets shipped off to China (i saw the programme and the job they are doing). But i feel even less comfortable seeing those waste dumps piled high. I dont think the minimum wage can be justifiably used by businesses competing as an excuse.

    Another way of looking at it is to challenge business to create less waste. In Europe a lot of supermarkets are no longer manufacturing plastic bags. They give consumers a lot of notice – ask them to buy the superstrong variety instead so you have to remember to take your bag with you. Fair enough. I already do that here when i go shopping out of choice. Again not because im some do gooder but ive just always thought we can be kinder to the planet.

  3. also…doesnt producing less plastic bags etc etc mean we are reducing our dependency on oil? I think thats a good thing also.

  4. Good posts Alison. I agree 100%.

    We can’t compete with Chines wages anyway, even if we had no minimum wage.

    The plastic bag tax in the Republic of Ireland (about 10p per bag) has reduced their use by 90% and is (I think) hypothicated towards environmental projects.

  5. >>The plastic bag tax in the Republic of Ireland (about 10p per bag) has reduced their use by 90% and is (I think) hypothicated towards environmental projects.<<

    enough of that positive talk about the republic… 🙂

    Seriously though, the plastic bag tax really has made a tangible difference. The only ngative side effect is paper bags in irish weather

    We were also the first european nation (i think) to implement the WEEE directive. No, thats not a Nintendo directive, its a directive which states that the buyer of electronic goods must pay a small fee at purchase point for its eventual recycling. Were crap at every ot environmental issue though

  6. Check out the UK government response to the WEEE directive. This one is going to annoy ALOT of people


  7. Sounds good to me

  8. >>Sounds good to me<<

    Do you think.. i duno. Our experience here was that you were charged something like 50 euro extra on top of the normal price of your washing machine for its future disposal. Only problem was your local council down the road might only be charging you 25.

    also, if you are fitting out a brand new house, it will put a fair bit extra on the bill

  9. Kloot, also you’re paying 50 euro upfront when you won’t be disposing of the machine for 15 years! What’s the council doing with the money until 2022?

  10. The money is taken off you at the till. So what happens is that the price of the item is displayed and broken down to include the WEEE charge plus retailer charge.

    The retailer then has to be prepared to take your old item off you at that point. So in a way its a handy means of disposing of old goods. To be honest, the politicians did a bad job in promoting it here as most people, myself included, took it as an extra tax.

    They claim that the money is to pay for the disposal of existing old goods as well as future goods

  11. Kloot – i was already paying suppliers to remove old electrical items when new ones were installed. I cant see how this will make any difference other than to standardise the practise….

  12. Hmmm….perhaps I should have filed this under "Economy" rather than "Environment", as my intended point has more to do with supporting British business, than with the rights or wrongs of recycling, per se.

    What the gov’t should be doing is providing incentives, big tax breaks to businesses in the recycling sector, so that the likes of Mr Atley can make a decent profit. But oh no, the concept of incentivising is alien to this socialist mafia, instead, it’s "punishment" all round for NOT obeying their dogmas. People are being fined £500 for putting the wrong things in the wrong bins, even by accident! Instead, we should be getting council tax rebates for recycling.
    Make it appealing, rewarding, and I’ll do it. Make not doing it punitive, and I’ll only resent it.

  13. Well, shoot. We have a recycling truck that comes around and then we have deposit places where we can dump our recycled stuff and THEN there’s the scrap yard a few miles away that PAYS you for your aluminum and mixed metals. Honey – you can make pretty good money gathering up that stuff and hauling it down there. One guy we know gets a couple hundred a week.

  14. I thought your view was that carbon emissions make no difference to climate change? Please clarify.

  15. Have energy audits been carried out on the re-cycling policies currently being implemented? How much energy does the act of re-cycling consume as opposed to say, burning the combustibles in smaller-scale power stations with flue gas stripping?