Where does the recycling go? Resource Association and LARAC launch charter
Resource Association and LARAC launch charter to improve public awareness about end destinations of recycling.
A charter designed to provide the public with a clearer picture of where their recyclables ultimately end up was launched on 7th June 2012 by the Resource Association, supported by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Executive.
Commending the initiative, Defra waste minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: "Everyone knows that recycling their rubbish is the right thing to do, but most people are completely unaware of what happens to their recycling after they put it out for collection. This new charter developed by the Resource Association and LARAC provides people with the answers and will hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to recycle more."
The End Destinations of Recycling Charter is a voluntary initiative that seeks to improve the transparency around the end destination of recyclable materials from the household waste stream. By providing better information to the public, the aim is to raise awareness and understanding, improve public confidence in the recycling process, and increase participation in recycling schemes.
"The public has shown its support for recycling - recent reports from Defra and DoE in Northern Ireland (showing recycling rates of 42.5% and 42.8%) demonstrate that we have more than quadrupled household recycling in just over ten years. There is, however, a strong appetite for more information about what happens beyond the point of collection and evidence suggests that better understanding could help to maintain and increase this support," says Ray Georgeson, chief executive of the Resource Association.
In a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Association1, 73% of respondents said that they don't know the exact location of where the materials they put out for recycling go and 65% don't know what these materials will be made into. In the same survey, 68% of UK adults said that more information should be available on what happens to recycled materials in terms of their destination and end use and 32% said that they would be more or much more likely to recycle if this information was available. According to a survey of the websites of 351 local authorities in England and Northern Ireland2, however, only 17% had information on their websites about the end destination of recyclable materials collected from residents.
"There is clearly scope to improve the range and level of information that is made available to the public, and the joint aim of the Resource Association and LARAC in initiating the End Destinations of Recycling Charter is to provide a framework through which this can be achieved," explains Ray Georgeson
Those signing up to the Charter commit to providing the public with comprehensive and accessible information through the publication, at least annually, of a Register of End Destinations of Recyclates that covers the materials collected and provides the names and locations of the final reprocessing points, whether in the UK or abroad.
While the Charter is aimed primarily at local authorities in England and Northern Ireland3, it recognises that capturing the necessary information will require co-operation throughout the supply chain, including private sector contractors, materials reprocessors, waste brokers and other parties involved in taking recycled materials to the market. As members of the Resource Association, a number of the UK's major materials reprocessors have already committed to support local authorities with the audit trail and verification needed in relation to the materials supplied to them for reprocessing.
"We welcome this chance to work with all the players involved to provide a robust picture of what happens to the recyclable materials collected from householders," says Joy Blizzard, Chair of LARAC. "Local authorities know that waste and recycling is a service about which residents have strong opinions and perceptions, both positive and negative. In LARAC's view, greater transparency will boost the public's trust in recycling, address some of the inaccurate perceptions about where recyclable materials end up, and help local authorities to be confident in the service they provide."
The End Destinations of Recycling Charter, a list of the founder signatories and more information can be found at www.resourceassociation.com. The Association has written to all local authority Chief Executives and Portfolio Holders to encourage them to support the Charter.
(Source RRF 7th June 2012)