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Letter: Targets for recycling

Sir: Polly Toynbee ("The battle of incinerators vs recyclers", 15 September) may feel the Government's target of recycling 25 per cent of household waste by 2000 is too low. However, it is worth noting that if the UK were to reach a recycling level of 40 per cent over the next 10-20 years, comparable with the best results ever achieved, this would still leave 60 per cent of our waste to be dealt with, amounting to 12 million tonnes per annum.

Society is clearly implicated in this: waste is a symptom of a need to change our ways. There must be an increase in reuse and recycling. However, it will take a generation for the impact of any change in attitude to come through and the problems of waste are with us now.

Modern, clean incinerators have a part to play in a balanced approach to waste management. Incineration reduces the volume of waste going to landfill sites by 80 per cent; more if the bottom ash produced is used in construction. It can also provide power generation and heating for local homes and businesses.


Chairman Elect Waste Management Board

The Institution of Civil Engineers

London SW1