Recycling drive to go into top gear

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The Independent Online
FOUR out of five homes in Britain will be able - and expected - to recycle more than half their rubbish by 2000.

Up to 85 per cent of households will have neighbourhood recycling banks a few minutes' walk away or be served by door-to-door collections for glass, cans, plastic and paper.

The big boost in recycling will cost about pounds 150m a year, the money being raised by a penny levy on each pounds 10 of retail goods sold.

The plan has been prepared by a coalition of 28 companies. It was revealed yesterday as senior executives met John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, who last July told industry and commerce to ensure more of the 7 million tonnes of packaging material consumed each year is recycled - or face legislation.

Yesterday's proposals include a fourfold increase in the packaging incineration by 2000, with the heat produced being used to generate electricity. That would need several large incinerators, likely to be opposed by people near by.

In all, 35 per cent of packaging reaching households will be recycled and 8 per cent incinerated in 2000.

The amount of packaging produced will still to grow - from 7.3 million tonnes last year to 8.1 million in 2000 - but that being dumped at landfill sites should fall from 4.9 million tonnes a year to 3.4 million.

The consortium includes Asda, BP Chemicals, Boots, Coca-Cola, ICI, Marks & Spencer, Procter & Gamble, Sainsbury, Shell Chemicals, Tesco and Unilever.

Mr Gummer gave a guarded welcome to the plan which would enable Britain to comply with the European Union's proposed packaging directive. Friends of the Earth said the coalition should cut the volume of packaging used.