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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 15:50 GMT
Recycling bill clears first hurdle
Bottle bank
Proposals to increase the amount of rubbish recycled by councils have been given backing in the Commons.

A bill from Labour MP Joan Ruddock passed its first hurdle on Friday, with the government giving the plan qualified support.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher said the proposed target of recycling half of all of household waste by the year 2010 was too ambitious.

"The government is taking very seriously the whole issue of sustainable waste management, we have sympathy with the aims of the Bill," he said.

"But there will be a need for a number of amendments in committee if it is to secure government support."

He said the target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2010 was too high and would clash with existing strategies, he said.

He said the government's existing target of recycling 30% of household waste by 2010 was more realistic.

But he welcomed calls for every household to have easy access to recycling facilities.

There should also, however, be more depots for recycling because collection services were not always practical.


The bill now goes to the committee stage for detailed discussion.

Latest figures show that the UK only recycles around 11% of its waste.

A government strategy unit review of waste strategy in November 2002 stated that recycling in England was "well below that in most other EU countries" and concluded that "we need to act now to reduce waste growth and recycle more".

It recommended the development of a waste strategy that would "enable England to match best practice in other countries" - one that includes a national doorstep recycling scheme for every home.

Austria recycles 64% of its domestic waste and Belgium recycles 52%.

The government's response to the strategy unit report is expected next month.

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