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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
UK launches 10m recycling effort
Recycling bins
Britain has a steep hill to climb when it comes to recycling
The UK government has launched a 10m multi-media advertising campaign to encourage the public to recycle household waste.

Supported by Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent, it features television adverts which claim "the possibilities for recycling are endless".

Britain recycles only 14.5% of its household waste - far less than nearly all other European countries.

The government aims to reach the target of 25% by the end of 2005.

The new campaign, coordinated by the Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap) with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (Defra) is the biggest yet in the UK.

Matthew Pinsent, Wrap
Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent gives his support

A distinctive recycling icon has also been unveiled to provide a "clear, generic public call for action".

"Recycling is easier than it ever has been before and it is improving all the time," said Environment Minister Elliot Morley. "Five years ago, kerbside collection schemes covered only 40% of homes.

"Today, more than two in three homes have kerbside collection schemes and there is an ever expanding network of 'bring' sites at convenient areas near your home."

Olympic gold-medallist Pinsent fronts the campaign, and comedian Eddie Izzard provides the voiceover for the animated adverts, which feature metal cans, glass bottles and paper being transformed into everyday items through recycling.

You put your questions to Ray Georgeson from Waste Resources Action Programme in an interactive forum

"I've always been a big believer in recycling and it's something I do all the time without really thinking about it," said Mr Pinsent.

"I use the local council's doorstep collection services, which make it really easy to recycle all my old newspapers and empty glass bottles and cans every week."

Britain has a steep hill to climb when it comes to recycling.

People recycle more household waste than ever - 14.5% in 2002/03, up 2% on 2001/02.

But Defra figures show household rubbish accounted for 88 per cent of municipal waste in 2002/3, at 25.8m tonnes - up 0.2 million tonnes from the previous year.

Britain is also near the bottom of the class compared with the rest of Europe's recycling performance.

Graph, BBC
The Netherlands is top, with 59% of its municipal waste going for recycling.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has welcomed the campaign but said more needs to be done.

"The government must provide more support and funding for councils to ensure that every household has a comprehensive doorstep recycling scheme," spokeswoman Georgina Bloomfield said.

"We will not have a recycling record to be proud of until recycling is as easy as throwing out the rubbish."

The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"The forecast is that household rubbish will double by 2020"

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22 Sep 04  |  Scotland

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