Recycling rules must block rogue operators
In response to the disturbing allegations due to be made in the BBC's "Real Story" documentary tonight , Friends of the Earth is calling for tougher enforcement of waste laws to ensure that rogue operators are prosecuted. The environmental group has long campaigned for high recycling rates, but the recycling must be genuine.
The documentary, "How Green is Your Wheelie", investigates the shipping of rubbish to Indonesia which was supposed to be waste paper but was in fact unsorted waste. This case comes on top of recent investigations by the Environment Agency which found mixed rubbish in containers for export that were labelled as containing waste paper .
Friends of the Earth is deeply concerned that a few rogue operators could undermine the public perception of recycling. There are many reputable recycling schemes in the UK, which audit exactly where the recycled materials go .
Friends of the Earth's Senior Resources Waste campaigner, Michael Warhurst, said:
"This appalling case demonstrates the need for the Environment Agency to crack down on rogue operators, and the need for councils to check where their recycling is ending up. However, the public should remember that most kerbside recycling schemes are well run, and recycling is an important contribution towards protecting our environment."
We are calling for the following actions to be taken to ensure effective recycling:
1) All councils should be auditing where their material for recycling is going and must ensure that all of it is really recycled.
2) The Environment Agency must put more resources into auditing recycling shipments, and into investigating and prosecuting the rogue operators.
3) The Government should investigate whether lower quality recycling schemes that collect`co-mingled' or mixed recyclables are more open to abuse. Friends of the Earth recommends that councils use schemes that separate materials as they are collected, as these generate higher value, cleaner, material . However, the government also needs to put more resources into supporting companies in the UK that can process these recyclables back into products.
 See BBC New Online story:
 "Crackdown leads to trail of illegal waste exports",
Environment Agency press release, 17th October 2005.
 One recycling company that specialises in kerbside recycling
is ECT Recycling. They have been interviewed for the documentary,
outlining how they use auditing to ensure that the materials they
collect really are recycled. http://www.ectgroup.co.uk
 See Friends of the Earth's "Doorstep Recycling Good Practice
Guide", published in June 2004:
Friends of the Earth Email: email@example.com
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London Tel: 020 7490 1555
N1 7JQ Fax: 020 7490 0881
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