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Legislation or Information: How to Encourage the UK Population to Recycle - Case Study Example

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This paper "Legislation or Information: How to Encourage the UK Population to Recycle" discusses environmental problems due to the waste we generate through different processes. These include household, industrial, hospital, agricultural wastes, etc…
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Download file to see previous pages Frequently recycled materials include glass, paper, aluminum, asphalt, steel, textiles, and plastic. Recycling is a key concept of modern waste management and is the third component of the waste hierarchy (Wikipedia, 2006). This paper looks into the current facts about recycling in the UK and the future prospects for recycling through legislation and creating awareness.

Estimate says that 400 million tonnes of waste are produced in the UK each year, a quarter of which is from households, commerce, and industry. The rest is made up of construction and demolition wastes, mining and agricultural wastes, sewage sludge and dredged spoils. Most of these wastes end up in landfill sites, but around 35% of industrial and commercial waste, along with just over 17% of household waste, is recycled or composted.

According to the EU Landfill Directive, it is essential to dramatically reduce, over the next 20 years, the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill. Municipal waste has been increasing at around 3% per annum which is slightly above GDP. If it continues to increase at this rate it will have doubled from the 1995 level by 2020 (DEFRA, 2006).
If we look at the situation in England, about 29 million tonnes of municipal waste, 87% of which was household waste, was produced in 2003/04. The most waste ends up in landfill sites; only 19% of household waste is currently recycled or composted (The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2005). It is estimated that about 85,000 tonnes of waste plastic is generated on farms in England each year. Over 90% of holdings produce plastic waste, with packaging waste estimated to be about 21,000 tonnes and non-packaging plastic waste estimated at about 65,000 tonnes per year (Soil Association food and farming, 2004).

Recycling is widely assumed to be environmentally beneficial, although the collection, sorting, and processing of materials gives rise to some environmental impacts and energy use.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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