Hundreds of thousands of tons of rubbish is being dumped in landfill sites or burned.
Government figures show that up to half of ‘recyclable’ waste is not being recycled despite households taking the time to sort their rubbish into a variety of different coloured bins, very often under threat of being fined by their local council if they don’t.
A company used by councils in London is actually sending plastics and paper materials to be burned.
This is despite the four councils separating recyclable materials from general waste by mixing all recyclable waste into one bag, an investigation by the Telegraph and Greenpeace revealed. This comes as government data reveals that local authorities’ recycling services are not consistent.
Boris Johnson told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We all need to do much more to increase recycling rates and everything possible must be done to make it easier to recycle.’
And Jeremy Hunt said: ‘We can all do more to lower the amount we waste. There is more to do to ensure recycling is easy and accessible for everyone.’
Barrow-in-Furness borough council, in Cumbria, had 46 per cent of its recycling dumped.
The next worst council was Newham in south London, with 33 per cent recycling ignored, South Holland with 26 per cent, Boston with 21 per cent, South Kesteven with 19 per cent, and Barking and Dagenham with 18 per cent.
One of the four councils – Hammersmith and Fulham – was already concerned by the practices of Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA) while the three other councils the company sorts recycling for are now looking into the claims.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said his department was ‘introducing a more consistent set of recyclable materials for collection in England, no matter which part of the country people live in’.
Julian Kirby, from Friends of the Earth, said: ‘People would understandably be appalled if the materials they have diligently gathered together for recycling actually ended up being incinerated.’
Five per cent of nearly 10 million tons of domestic rubbish – 467,477 tons of waste – was rejected from recycling plants across 123 English unitary councils and disposal authorities.
Cory Riverside Energy, who operate WRWA, said that recycling was only discarded with general waste when it is contaminated and that it does recycle 99 per cent of the recyclable waste it deals with.
Meanwhile, in another shocking waste-dumping shame revealed by the consumerwatchfoundation.com Hundreds of rotting cars are likely to be leaking into a subterranean lake inside a Welsh mountain … and it appears nobody cares.
In fact the local authority, Gwynned Council, admit in a guarded fashion that they probably didn’t even know about the fact as many as 200 wrecked vehicle, tyres, washing machines and general scrap metal have been dumped there for decades.