Finally, it seems, DEFRA are admitting what this blog has been saying for some years - that our entire domestic waste recycling regime is an utter waste of time and money. The EU Waste Framework Directive, the pernicious piece of nonsense behind the whole thing, sets targets for the government, through the local councils, for the percentage of waste that is recycled. Or, rather, intended to be recycled. For the measure is taken at the point of collection, not of disposal. As long as councils collect their quota of recycled waste, they can then send it all to landfill along with the rest of the waste. There are no targets for the percentage of domestic waste actually recycled.
So who benefits from this pointless legislation? Well, principally a German company called Schneider, Europe's largest roto-moulders of wheelie bins. The chances are at least one of the three wheelie bins you're likely to have cluttering your driveway was made by Schneider. And as the company hold all the patents on wheelie bins, they even make royalties when the bins are manufactured by other firms. Their triumph has been in Europe's decisions to equip each Eurohousehold not with one 240l bin but three 120l bins, whose carefully segregated contents are then all dumped in the same pile at the waste depot. So whilst the EU wants us on the one hand to dramatically curb our use of flimsy 5g plastic carrier bags, it legislates on the other to quadruple the use of plastic at 14,000g a time for new wheelie bins. There will soon be one 120l wheelie bin for every citizen in the EU; seven thousand tonnes of plastic, enough for 1.4 billion carrier bags, or 2,800 carrier bags for each and every citizen in the EU. You couldn't make it up.