The adoption of recycling maybe harmed by reports that it is ineffective and actually costs more, and does more harm, than traditional methods of waste disposal.

There is no doubt that UK local authorities are not working of an agreed national plan when it comes to recycling programmes. You only have to visit a few neighbouring authorities to come across all kinds of different schemes that seem to be driven by available finances, rather than any consensus of option on the best route to take.

Firstly there are wide differences in the frequency of normal domestic rubbish collections. These vary from weekly to fortnightly. Sometimes collection of recyclable items is made at a different visit causing confusion and inconvenience for householders. Then there are the wide differences in what is and isn't acceptable in terms of recycled waste. Also there are all kinds of containers and different schemes of separation for various materials.

You would think that garden waste would be totally acceptable for waste that is going to end up in landfill sites, but that is not the case in many areas. There are subsidised schemes to provide households with containers that compost garden and kitchen vegetable waste, but not everyone has a suitable garden to accommodate these. Many householders end up having to regularly visit their local tip to dispose of garden waste, making them undertake additional journeys by car and arguably causing more harm to the environment in doing so.

Another bone of contention is the strict set of rules imposed by many councils and the inflexible manner in which they are implemented. Typical problems are caused by overfull bins, which councils may refuse to empty. This just leaves the householder with additional waste disposal problems and will ultimately lead to some people using the bins of others for their waste or having to drive to the tip themselves.

There is also the issue with people being away from home, either through work or on holiday, when their bin is due for emptying. Some councils are penalising people for putting out their bins early (when they may have no choice) and if someone misses a fortnightly collection, they could be left with rotting waste in their bins for up to a month, which is hardly a healthy situation.

Waste disposal is undergoing significant change in the UK and all parties from householders, to local councils, skip hire companies and recycling businesses still have some way to go before an efficient system that satisfies all is put in place.

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