Recent media coverage has highlighted the scale of UK rubbish heading elsewhere in the world, somtimes to be recycled or even to be dumped illegally. The Mail on Sunday has an investigation into the amounts of Scottish rubbish going to China. It highlights the obvious fact that it makes no environmental sense at all to send rubbish to the other side of the world as efforts of 'green' households to recycle are cancelled out by the pollution involved in the shipping process. The paper's article (not on-line) at the moment states:
Nearly half of all councils use companies whose main market is in the Far East to dispose of recycled waste. This includes more than 8,000 tons from Fife Council, which is annually exported to China; 5,000 tons from Highland Council, and a proportion of the 35,000 tons collected each year in Dundee.'
So when you put your rubbish out for the scaffies next week it that just simply some of the contents of your green bin taking the first step in a long journey overseas? It is a question of priorities for our society isn't it? Obviously there are dangers involved if we leave recycling to the free market without any contingency should things in that market fluctuate too much. If the government can keep banks going as charity cases then surely they could provide a base line of support for the recycling industry that would mean we really were green instead of pretending to be so as a fleet of trash ships head for China every week? Ironically we probably buy some of it back as the ships might bring goods for our High Streets as they return.