The public must be listened to while we reform our resource strategy

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Jo Gallacher is Editor of RWW

I blinked and suddenly the leaves had begun to fall off the trees, I was reaching for my scarf and my walk home from work had got a lot darker.

Autumn has arrived, and with it the growing anticipation of the contents of the Resources and Waste Strategy.

The past month has been filled with plenty of talk over the public’s role in recycling, with the BBC reporting there were 37 different collection services across the country and SUEZ research stating over half the population (55%) think manufacturers should be responsible for all of the costs associated with recycling or disposal of materials.

It’s nice to see the public being considered on the journey – after all, they control a lot of where products end up – but I have a fear that until we create a streamlined service across the UK, mixed messages will fuel ongoing confusion and hinder recycling rates.

Am I being too optimistic to expect the strategy to touch on a nationwide system that can accept the same materials for recycling, regardless of post code?

A system that could enable designers to know what products to put into the system, allow manufacturers to make labelling more straightforward (ie, recyclable or not) and the public understand which products to avoid or place in the recycling bin.

Of course, this is just one solution to a multifaceted problem, but until policy-makers and the industry begin listening to the public, instead of speculation and educated guesses, we will continue to sleepwalk into a resource crisis we all predicted.

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