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‘Time to get tough’

The UK’s waste management agency says it's time to start fining companies that don't recycle their waste
Time to get tough on business waste

Britain could quite easily hit its 50% waste recycling target overnight if only people, companies and organisations up and down the country ‘could be bothered’, according to

At the moment, we only recycle 45% of our waste – a figure that’s stayed roughly the same for the last three years. European partners are currently aiming for 100% recycling targets and hitting them, says the national waste management company.

It goes on to say it would only take a relatively small effort and a one-off cash injection to provide the facilities to convert the UK from one of the losers in the European recycling waste to one of the leaders. We could stop 70 million tonnes of waste going to landfill in just one year with new legislation, the waste agency estimates.

‘The message from central government has been one of ‘Why bother?’ They came to office saying they’d be the ‘greenest government ever’ and they’ve done virtually nothing on that front. We already have the ability to hit more ambitious targets, just not the will.’

MARK HALL spokesperson

A new recycling law says it’s time for England to come into line with the rest of the UK and enact strict waste and recycling laws for companies organisations and schools.

Scotland compels businesses to recycle as much as is practicable, and Wales is to follow with a similar law. It’s only in England, home to 80% of the UK’s waste output, that nothing is being done. is recommending ‘big fines’ for companies that do not recycle waste, with up to £100,000 charged to repeat offenders.

The waste management company estimates that up to two million new bins and skips would be required to make English companies compliant with any new law. says a one-off cash injection would be required, which could be offset against tax and reduced waste costs for most companies.

‘It’s time to wield a big stick on waste, but also to be as helpful as possible to assist organisations into complying with any new law.’

MARK HALL spokesperson

A new recycling law would mean one-off extra costs of around £2,500 for the average business. This cost would be offset year after year with reduced landfill tax payments.

Arrangements should be made to allow the initial cost to be written off in corporate end-of-year tax returns. The benefits for the United Kingdom would be clear almost immediately, says

10-year target ‘a joke’

A national jump from 45% recycling to 70% would take around 70 million tonnes of waste out of landfill every year, taking pressure off our nearly-full landfill sites.

This would mean extra business for companies that recycle goods back into raw materials, generating jobs.

It would also mean lower factory gate prices for many companies as they are purchasing cheaper recycled raw materials rather than having to buy ‘new’.

‘All we need is the political will for this to happen’, says’s Mark Hall, ‘But it appears that those in power are scared of the cost of setting the wheels in motion.’ says that England could quite easily join the rest of the UK and parts of western Europe in taking a giant step towards waste and recycling targets overnight if the country just put its mind to it.

‘We’ve set a 10-year target to reach 70% recycling from homes and businesses’, Mark Hall says. ‘10 years! What a joke! We could do that tomorrow if we could be bothered.’

Click here to read our article about the UK’s recycling league table.

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