Call for MPs to focus on changing the throwaway society

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 04 Sep 2014 18:36, Last updated: 2014-09-04
Greater efforts are needed in the drive towards a circular economy
Greater efforts are needed in the drive towards a circular economy

A recent report released by the Environmental Audit Committee highlighted the need to end the ‘throwaway society’ we are currently living in and focus on changing behaviour to a more circular approach to hit European recycling targets.

With the UK already set to miss their 2020 European renewables targets, there is increasing pressure on those in power to start making significant changes to help control and reduce the amount we are throwing away. The Environmental Audit Committees released its report, which comments on the Governments lack of leadership in this area and highlights the cut-backs instead of scale-up approach being adopted.

The UK has been criticised previously for their throwaway society whereby we are happy to simply discard used items rather than look for alternatives for recycling. This is particularly prevalent in the electronics sector where new ranges and latest versions are released, encouraging people to upgrade and discard their slightly older models – some of which are still in perfect working order.

The report states ‘A 'linear' approach—where materials are extracted, made into a product, used and discarded—wastes valuable resources and damages the environment’. It is calling for a more circular economy whereby we reuse, replace and refurbish old items where necessary to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill and damaging the environment.

Unfortunately, many of those contributing to this issue have been brought up in a throwaway society and therefore a significant change of behaviour is needed in order to resolve the issue and increase the amount being recycled. The Government is now spending more on waste management than on housing or planning but only a quarter of councils are offering even simple recycling services such as food waste recycling. With more technical recycling or refurbishment of electronic goods, there is

Following recent coverage, James Rubin, CEO of Enviro Waste, told the BBC: “20 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste is disposed of across the world every year – not helped by the fact that new models are being constantly released every six months or so, convincing consumers to bin their perfectly good gadgets for the slightly upgraded versions. As we chuck out our old iPads and upgrade our smart TVs every couple of years, the amount of e-waste that we create is certainly going to grow to worrying levels.”

Enviro Waste is an environmentally responsible company who are actively working to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill. James added: “We recycle and refurbish as much as we can – we divert as much as 92% of waste away from landfill, and we strive to ensure we stay on top of the e-waste problem as it develops in the coming years.”

They offer WEEE recycling services across London and are finding more and more electronic waste is being discarded unnecessarily. The Environmental Audit Committee commends companies like this and feels that the Government should be offering tax breaks as a way of rewarding companies who are helping to resolve this issue.

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