Yes we recycle but we rather not re-use it.
To the delight of everyone present at the CIWM Wales 2017 conference, WRAP revealed that producers in general are very willing to implement strategies aiming to promote recycling by their customers. This covers all the different routes from free returns for used good, free collection of the old upon delivery of the new, collection points at the shops themselves or even financial incentives such as reductions for new goods or vouchers etc…. However it is interesting to discover that only 6% of the producers are consequently also interested in using these recyclates back into their manufacturing process. This attitude appears to have three major roots:
- The public’s perception (and the manufacturer’s confirmation thereof ) that goods containing recycled materials are inferior to products manufactured using only virgin raw materials.
- A lack of facilities to transform these recyclates into usable materials remains a substantial barrier their re-introduction.
- The overall heterogeneous nature of recyclates (which is often one of the causes of (ii), making it harder to price, transport, store and re-use them.
Visit the WRAP website for all information on recycling and the circular economy.
The Welsh government has achieved sensational recycling rates which have increased from 2% to 62% in the past 20 years. This results largely from a consistent and clear central policy, aided by the size of the country. In doing so, Wales ranks second in Europe (behind Germany) and third in the world on the table of overall recycling rates. However, the producers’ and consumers’ attitude to “recycled goods” in combination with the general lack of recycling facilities in Wales indicate that strong government recycling policies will result in high rates of recycling ( i.e. at the point of collection) but do not necessarily translate into the contribution to the circular economy.
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