More political action is needed to reduce waste and improve recycling rates to meet EU targets by 2020, says report by MPs Ministers have stepped back from efforts to encourage people to recycle their rubbish just as growth in recycling rates in England has reached a plateau, MPs have said.
Householders are still confused over what can and cannot be recycled and only a quarter of them recycle waste correctly, they said.
Publishing its report on waste management on Wednesday, the environment, food and rural affairs committee said the government needed to take the lead in increasing the rate of recycling and cutting the amount of rubbish thrown in landfill. The average person in England throws away five times their body weight a year, adding up to 22.6m tons of household waste annually.
On becoming waste minister last November, Dan Rogerson told the industry there would be “reductions to our activities” and that from April this year the Department for Food, Rural Affairs and the Environment (Defra) would be “stepping back in areas where businesses are better placed to act and there is no clear market failure”.
But MPs on the committee said the stall in recycling rates – which were at 12.5% in 2001 and grew significantly each year before stopping at 43% in 2011 and rising by just 0.2 percentage points the following year – showed there was a need for greater, not less, government intervention. Under an EU targets, households must recycle 50% by 2020, and potentially up to 70% by 2030.