The Shocking Statistics
2015 was the first year that recycling dropped. Compared with 44.9% of household waste in 2014, the figure dropped in 2015 to 44.3%. This is still nearly 6% off the EU target of 50%. With experts suggesting that the UK could run out of landfill space completely before 2020, we need to act soon to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Nicknamed ‘the dustbin of Europe’, the UK produces 2 tonnes more waste than any other European country, and 57 million tonnes of rubbish needs somewhere to go in the UK every year. Although the amount sent to landfill has fallen by a third since 2000, more needs to be done to keep our system functioning and avoid fines.
So why is recycling important? Recycling has become especially important in recent years due to the increasing population size and non-biodegradable materials. Convenience foods are increasingly popular and are packaged with much more materials than necessary. The worst affected area of the UK is the South East because it is the largest regional producer of waste and landfills are nearly full. Therefore, there will be an increase in ‘landfill tourism’, where waste must be transported across the UK for disposal.
Other Answers to: Why is Recycling Important?
As the landfill crisis looms, officials blame the increased pressure on Brexit, the Chinese clampdown on their recyclable material imports, and our Government’s struggle to implement clear policy and come up with new methods of waste reduction or new waste facilities in the UK.
The EU is important because we export our non-recyclable waste there, among other places. In 2016, this was more than 3 million tonnes, which was used as fuel to generate heat and electricity. However, because of Brexit, our ability to do this and keep within EU regulations may be limited.
Of course, all types of waste disposal have an impact on the environment which is a vital consideration to prevent limit global warming. Harmful chemicals and gasses are released when we put our rubbish into landfill sites. Recycling helps to stop this, and reduces deforestation and the need for natural resources. If we increase recycling in households, it will also pressure companies to make their products and packaging more environmentally friendly. We all have a part to play in keeping our environment healthy and reducing landfill.