Senior Conservative calls on the UK to learn the recycling lesson from Finland

Brussels, 19 September 2007 — A senior Conservative MEP in the European Parliament is urging the UK Government and local authorities to learn from Finland how to switch away from land filling domestic waste to recycling and reuse.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP said: “In 2000 Finland and England both depended on dumping 80 per cent of their waste into landfill. But the Finns are now well ahead of us in promoting recycling with a national figure of over 40 per cent while the latest figure for England is 27 per cent.

Sir Robert suggested two key areas which could improve the UK’s performance:

  • Create more highly visible, well-designed, collection points for recyclables so that recycling becomes a normal part of people’s lives and not a resented add-on. The collection points in Finland often involve sunken containers and are constructed so as to avoid noise and spillage. They do go in for kerb-side collection but not to the same extent as we do in rural areas.
  • Use energy from waste plants to deal with residual waste and produce energy.
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