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Rules which make recycling a must; Waste Management.

Byline: Ian McDonald

IN THE 1980s, increasing concern about the effects of economic development on health, natural resources and the environment led the United Nations to publish the Brundtland Report.

It defined sustainable development as: "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is about achieving a better quality of life for everyone somewhere."

Agenda 21 followed and produced a comprehensive plan of action to be followed globally, nationally and locally. The UK government stated that its core policy is "continuous economic and social progress that respects the limits of the Earth's ecosystems and meets the needs and aspirations of everyone for a better quality of life, now and for the future generations to come."

It has added the principle that the environmental costs shall be by those directly responsible - in other words the polluter pays.

To bring effect to these policies and principles it has introduced a raft of legislation including the Control of Pollution Act 1974, Environmental Protection Act 1990, Controlled Waste Regulations 1991/2, Waste Management Licensing Regulation 1994, Pollution, Prevention and Control Regulations 2000, Landfill tax 1996, Landfill Directive 1991, Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) 1997 and the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulation 1991.

All of the above are aimed at the sustainability of the environment. The extent of this legislation is very wide and failure to comply has onerous consequences.

In relation to recycling two fundamental points are worthy of note.

Firstly, all waste must be treated to remove recyclable product before the waste can be landfilled. Secondly a combination of tax upon landfill (currently pounds 32 per tonne) and complex, expensive controls on landfilling are intended to make landfill an ever more expensive option for waste disposal.

As a result, by law, we are required to attempt to economically recycle as much material as possible and the height of the economic barrier to recycling is being continually raised.

Therefore, everyone is being compelled to recycle both economically and legislatively.

Ian McDonald is managing director of Aim to Recycle based in Felling, Gateshead. For more information contact Aim to Recycle on (0191) 469-8583 or visit

By law, we are required to attempt to economically recycle as much material as possible


LANDFILL DISCOURAGED Top to bottom, plastic and wood are among the prime materials found in yards for recycling.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2008
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