SustainabilitySocial Issues

Wales Doubled its Recycling Rates – Here’s How America Can Too

Recycling is good for the planet and future generations, but the amount of household waste that is actually recycled is much lower than many individuals might expect. While recycling is growing at a slow and steady rate, it is possible to increase the percentage of recycled waste and make steadier inroads into a better future. Wales has proven exactly this.

Wales Recycling Improvements

Wales Doubled its Recycling Rates – Here’s How America Can TooImage Source: Wales Online

The European Union has made ambitious goals for Europe’s recycling programs, but Wales in particular stands out for its progress towards a brighter future. According to Good Environment, Wales has more than doubled the amount of household waste the country recycles since 2005. In 2005, Wales only recycled around 23.1 percent of waste products, which has more than doubled by 2012. The rate that households are recycling has increased to 48 percent.

The Guardian describes Wales as implementing a waste reduction strategy that has a very ambitious goal: to recycle or reuse all waste products by 2050. The official Welsh government the country has implemented statutory recycling targets and has a landfill allowance scheme. As a result, the country is able to meet higher recycling goals.

Recycling Rates in the U.S.

Public awareness of concerns related to waste has grown over the years and recycling has slowly increased, but many improvements are still necessary to reach better recycling figures. According to Good Environment, the U.S. recycled around 32.1 percent of household waste in 2005, but this has grown at a very slow rate. In 2011, the U.S. only recycled 34.1 percent of household waste. According to Enhanced Online News, the problem may be due to the lack of recycling services available throughout the country — the U.S. has 1.5 million different methods of recycling household waste, and therefore no other excuse for its stagnation.

Improvement Solutions

Improving recycling rates in the U.S. requires decisive action. Wales has provided the U.S. and other countries in the world with simple solutions that are now proven to show success. The U.S. can apply some of the methods used in Wales to improve recycling rates.

Image result for recycling americaImage Source: Time Magazine

Creating laws related to recycling is a key factor in improving the percentage of household products that are ultimately reused. Wales has used ambitious targets and landfill allowances as the key part of reaching recycling goals. While the U.S. might not be able to implement the same laws, legal action is necessary to encourage individuals who otherwise would not recycle to start separating waste products.

The U.S. can also provide better services to pick up different recyclables. While the country has around 1.5 million recycling services, many areas do not have a program to pick up the materials. In a busy society, the lack of programs to collect recyclables results in fewer individuals reusing certain materials, including TVs, computers and other electronic devices. Many businesses and homes are transitioning to online data backup for solutions to this. There is no waste because the cloud backup holds all of the information previously stored on physical servers.

The solutions Wales uses that might apply in the U.S. and ensure better recycling figures in the future are the separation of food and green waste collection, the legal limitation on waste moved to a landfill and ambitious planning. The U.S. can take better collection measures and pass laws that help encourage families to reuse or recycle waste products.

Written by Jason Walker, originally published on SUFC.

Hero image source: Plastics News