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Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK


New plans for old waste

150 million tonnes of rubbish is produced in England and Wales each year

The government is to publish new ideas for reducing the amount of rubbish produced in England and Wales - and for increasing the amount recycled.

BBC's Margaret Gilmore: "It's getting more difficult to bury"
More than 150 million tonnes of rubbish is produced in England and Wales every year, mainly from building work, industry, and household waste.

About a fifth of this rubbish is currently buried underground in landfill sites.

However, the EU and many local communities are opposed to landfill because of the possibility of long-term pollution. In its Draft Waste Strategy, a final consultation paper to be published on Wednesday, the government will explore alternative methods of disposal.

[ image: Only 8% of household waste is recycled]
Only 8% of household waste is recycled
Environment minister Michael Meacher is likely to say that the next-best option is to burn the waste in a new generation of incinerators, which use the heat from the burned rubbish to produce hot water or electricity.

However, green pressure groups say that instead of promoting incinerators, the government should do more to encourage recycling.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore: The government will suggest new waste incinerators
The government had hoped that by the year 2000 a quarter of household waste would be recycled. So far only about 8% is being reused.

It is possible that the draft strategy will also include a plan to introduce a tax on rubbish, with households being charged according to how much they produce.

Similar waste management proposals are being developed in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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