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Councils continue to count the cost of contaminated recycling this Christmas

15th December 2015

UK councils are continuing to count the cost of contamination this Christmas.  That was the message from Chris Jonas, Director of Business Development at Viridor – one of the UK’s largest recyclers.

Against a backdrop of local authority consultations on responses to austerity, Viridor has called on council’s to act, following best practice in the UK’s top performing authorities to avoid unnecessary and undesirable public sector spending on contamination.

Mr. Jonas spoke following the announcement by DEFRA on 1st December of England’s top ten recycling authorities.

Mr. Jonas said:

“This festive season we’re seeing some great news in terms of the progress made by some local authorities in England. Leading lights such as South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Rochford District Council, Trafford MBC and Stockport MBC deserve real recognition for their contribution to a circular economy.

“But against a backdrop of the impact of austerity we’re continuing to see many UK councils continue to literally count the cost of cuts in front-end waste communication and collections concerning increases in amounts of non-target recyclables.

“With unprecedented resource price volatility and rising quality demands, the continuing failure by some councils to address persistent contamination places the viability of local recycling services under threat.”

Mr. Jonas continued:

“Leading councils are repositioning waste as undesirable : undesirable environmentally and for its economic impact – nationally and locally where spending on waste displaces investment in schools, infrastructure or social care. Waste is being viewed as what remains after reuse, recycling and recovery.

“This Christmas therefore, as many council’s conclude local consultations on cuts and efficiency savings, it’s time to look at the value of getting collections right, and the cost of getting it wrong. Aligned with a new national sector conversation on regional resource networks, we need to recognise success, share best practice and address councils where contamination remains a concern.”

England as a whole recycled 44.7% a slight 0.2% increase from last year. This small improvement reflects the ongoing challenge for authorities and our sector to hit the 50% recycling target by 2020, and the recently announced EU Circular Economy target set at 65% for 2030. Viridor continues to support recycling service across England and is calling for fresh and bold thinking on how we can achieve these challenging targets.

For further information on how Viridor is helping public sector partners, contact here.

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