I BET that you didn’t know that the week beginning 13th November was meant to be National Recycling Week, and it appears to have passed with a remarkably low impact. It’s a very serious opportunity that has been missed, yet again, and when the facts are considered screams out for government action.

If all our aluminium cans were collected and recycled to make new ones it would use 90 percent less energy and produce 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions – mainly CO2. It’s the equivalent of taking almost a million cars off the road. The energy needed to make a new aluminium can from the original bauxite would allow more than 20 recycled ones to be used again.

The same applies to other materials, so recycling steel cuts energy use by 80 percent, and nine million tonnes of recycled paper would reduce the emissions by 11 million tonnes as well as saving 31 tonnes of CO2 per tonne. Additionally for every tonne recycled it would reprieve 31 trees and save 4,000 kwh of electricity. Indeed comparable figures apply to most materials.

The real way forward is to have a 20p returnable deposit on all single use liquid containers made of glass, plastic, aluminium or tin – the seas would be much cleaner, and most of the litter would have disappeared, as well as the re-use saving an enormous amount of CO2 from

entering the atmosphere.

More than 30 countries already have variations on the above but the UK allows the manufacturers to have too big a say, and the hundreds of council different waste systems don’t help.

Twenty years ago personal encouragement by the council raised the recycling level in parts of Buttershaw from less than 10 percent to over 90, but the real way forward is the deposit scheme, giving a financial reward for reducing the CO2 produced.