Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Friday, 17 August 2007 11:41 UK

High street plan for recycle bins

Litter bin
The UK has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe

Plans to boost the number of recycling bins placed next to public litter bins have been proposed by the government.

The voluntary initiative, covering England, would target locations such as streets, car parks, shopping centres and entertainment venues.

The scheme is aimed at increasing the amount of recycling people do when they are not at home.

Local authorities have backed the idea but question whether it would work without additional funding.

'Finance problem'

Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association's Environmental Board, said: "The government have come up with this as a good idea but my concern is they have given no increase of assistance with funding.

"The problem is not the desire but the finance available to do it."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has come up with the proposals - called Recycle on the Go - with the help of environmental charity Encams.

The scheme would offer advice to organisations that wanted to provide recycling bins but did not know how to go about it.

Encams deputy chief executive Ian Clayton believes there will be support for the initiative.

He said: "I think everybody wants to see places look nice and clean.

"Research we've done suggests 92% of people do recycle to some extent, and nearly 70% said they would do more if it was more convenient to do so."

'Reverse vending machines'

The government has highlighted some existing schemes, which it says work well, including:

  • The City of London which provides nine "commuter bins" for newspapers near train stations
  • The Eden Project environmental centre in Cornwall which has placed banks of wheelie bins around its site, labelled for segregation of materials
  • Manchester airport which has recycling bins for paper to encourage passengers to recycle newspapers and magazines
  • Chester City Council which has installed "green space" recycling bins at parks, riversides and villages
  • Eastgate Shopping Centre in Basildon, Essex, which has set up "reverse vending machines" for plastic bottles and aluminium cans
  • BBC political reporter Rob Young said there was the "threat of legislation", although ministers say a change in the law at the moment would be "premature".

    The UK has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe.

    Millions of tonnes of rubbish go into litter bins every year and most of that goes to landfill sites.

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