The 2020 recycling and composting target could be reached today!

Filed in Blog by on March 26, 2009 11 Comments
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reduce landfill waste by reusing, recycling and compostingWell this is something to celebrate. Mr Green and I have said all along, that if money and resources were put into education and reprocessing / recycling facilities we could solve the whole landfill – incineration – ships to China issue within a year.

According to Gloucestershire council we could reach it today!

Gloucestershire Gloucestershire County Council has a strategy to recycle and compost at least 60% of household waste by 2020.

However, if everyone in the county replicated the achievements of those who took part in the Zero Waste Challenge Week, we could cut the amount of rubbish sent to landfill by as much as 49,000 tonnes way before that deadline.

Landfill tax rates are set to increase from £32 to £40 for every tonne of waste disposed of to landfill in April. In addition, our council faces fines of £150 per tonne for every tonne in excess of our landfill allowance. It begs the question – what are we waiting for? We have shown that implementing the 3 R’s is a working, practical and effective model, so now we need the resources to put some positive changes into place.

As you might remember, the aim of Zero Waste week, which took place at the end of January, was to encourage people to reuse, recycle and compost as much as possible.

Participants did some great things to reduce their waste. They started shopping locally, used farmers markets, reused carrier bags or used reusable shopping bags, bought loose produce in the supermarket, planned meals in advance, composted more and switched to real nappies. All simple things that can add, collectively, to significant change.

Over 1300 householders and local communities signed up to the challenge with 270 people sending back their monitoring forms.  The average reduction in waste per household was a fantastic, landfill dumping 3.8kg!

Six householder’s names were pulled out of the hat and won themselves a set of recycled wine glasses. One is the winners reduced her family’s waste from their usual 1 1/2 black bags of rubbish to less than 1 carrier bag! What an amazing result and one worthy of a nice glass of wine!

When we interviewed Tracy Millard and her family during zero waste week, we discovered that their usual 3/4 wheelie bin full of rubbish, shrunk to a svelte two carrier bags worth. Another incredible result!

If everyone in the County repeated this achievement, every day of the year, the Gloucestershire Waste Partnership’s 2020 target of recycling and composting at least 60 per cent, could be met straight away.

What an inspiring thought …


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. MrsJ says:

    The council should pay you as that’s the first I’ve heard any results about zero waste. It’s a sorry state down my road today with so much cardboard next to the bin. I threatened to collect it up and recycle it but MrJ wouldn’t let me (besides it’s hurting for me to walk much lol).

    Well done to all those making such efforts though. And a really big thank you to the Greens for helping us less educated become more educated in these matters.

  2. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    It is amazing what each household can achieve within 1 week. From there, further change develops gradually, with the help of experienced enthusiasts. The truth is that we, householders/consumers, can lead the change when all around are waiting for things to happen.

    Even for the experienced Wasters, there are more items becoming Zero Waste. This factor means that taking up the challenge will be easier as time progresses.

  3. Jen CleanBin says:

    It makes you wonder what the heck the average person is putting in their garbage doesn’t it?

    I’m guessing that not all the paper and plastic that can be recycled is being separated into the correct waste stream. There must be recyclables in those bins!

    Great job spearheading zero waste week. I know that being a family is a great asset as people with kids can really relate to your efforts and can’t use “the kids” as an excuse.

  4. Poppy says:

    @Jen CleanBin:

    I know what you mean Jen. I’ve taken to trying to look the other way when I go past the huge green wheelie bins with their balck bag side kicks. Looking at them only makes me sad 🙁

  5. Poppy says:


  6. Mrs Green says:

    @MrsJ: Awww, thank you Mrs J. Believe me, you all inspire us too and help us to keep going on the bad days.

    @Jen CleanBin: Hi Jen, thank you for your support. But you know, a year ago, it was me chucking everything into the bin; including the recyclables. I just didn’t bother to separate things as it was ‘too much effort’.
    But we’re all capable of change, right!?

    @Poppy: 🙁 me too. I think things are getting better though, gradually; do you?

  7. Today is our landfill and recycling bin collection day, as I drove DS2 to school I saw one house had their landfill bin overflowing and there was also some black bion liners in the top of their recycling bin, hopefully when I go down to school later the recycling one won’t have been emptied to show that this is not the way to go.

    I know this family are 2 adults and 2 teenagers so no excuses really!!

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Amazing what you see, Maisie. I wonder what the answer is – fines, incentives??

  9. Jane says:

    Do you still see bins like this? I think sometimes all it needs is someone to comment on the fact that some households manage to create such an ENORMOUS amount of waste for them to realise that they have been noticed. Mostly as you say it is because of lack of effort and that could/should be family effort and not just one person’s! Then it is much much easier.

  10. @Jane: I’m afraid to say yes, the same family put the same amount out each collection day.

    I do not know them personally so wouldn’t venture to mention the excess.

  11. Jane says:

    @maisie dalziel: They become more obvious as more people put in a bit of effort. Many Councils collect waste and recycling on the same day so a cursory glance is all that is needed to see who hasn’t made ANY effort. This is where the the compulsory recycling of some things eg glass can start to make a difference – while they don’t have to do anything they don’t and as soon as they do they are surprised how easy it is to do something.

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