The current recycling infrastructures depend upon the willingness of the consumer to engage in this time- and space-consuming activity, the result being that only a fraction of our waste ends up being re-used.
What is needed is an approach similar to systems being set up in Germany and France, where distributors and the consumer retail industry are made responsible for the collection and recycling of all the packaging they put on the market.
By paying a small contribution per single item of packaging sold, they subscribe to a scheme which, in the case of Germany, collects the used packaging directly from the consumer's doorstep, or, as in France, buys the packaging back from the local authorities once it has been sorted. Once back in the hands of industry, the latter is responsible for recycling specific quotas and safely disposing of the remainder.
Heriot-Watt University Students' Association
17 SeptemberReuse content