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Local MP Presses for New Recycling Initiative

December 21, 2005 4:05 PM

In parliament last week, MP Vincent Cable raised with the Environment Minister the current failure to provide target or incentives for councils to recycle trade waste: paper from offices and newsagents; green waste from florists; bottles from shops and off licences. The Minister admitted that changes needed to be made :

Hansard Extract

Dr. Vincent Cable (Twickenham) (LD): Large amounts of recyclable waste are not being recycled, but is not one reason for that the fact that the system of Government targets encourages councils to collect small amounts of such waste from large numbers of households? In contrast, a great deal of trade waste-from florists, or paper from offices, for example-is not being collected and does not count against the targets.

Mr. Bradshaw: It does not count against certain targets, but the hon. Gentleman will know that we are doing better on recycling business and commercial waste than on recycling domestic waste. The Government will look carefully at all those matters in the waste review that we intend to begin early in the new year, with the aim of developing a new waste strategy by next summer. He is right that there are a number of what some people might call perverse incentives in the system and we hope to tackle them in the review.

Vincent Cable said: "a group of workers in a local florist raised this issue with me a few weeks ago. I have now tried to get ministers involved since councils are currently acting in response to government targets. It seems potty to have a system in which the council collects small amounts from large numbers of people to recycle while big quantities of recyclable material from shops and offices are dumped in landfill sites because there are no arrangements to collect it".