UK advisors recommend policies for recycling

Report recommends subsidies for aluminium, tax and voluntary agreement for newsprint

A team of consultants has analysed a range of policy measures that could be used to boost waste recycling levels in a report prepared for the UK environment ministry. Based on life-cycle analyses of six substances, Ecotec finds that recycled aluminium, steel, paper and glass all impose lower environmental burdens than their virgin equivalents. Both high- and low-density polyethylene, by contrast, cause greater impacts if they are recycled, the report says. The main reason why environmentally preferable recycled materials are underused is a failure to include the environmental costs of a material in the price paid by manufacturers and a poor public perception of the materials' performance, the study concludes. To redress the imbalance, recycled aluminium would be best promoted through subsidies, it says. Other policy options, such as imposing a tax on the virgin product would, it says, cause a shift to the use of virgin steel with little environmental benefit. For newsprint, the report suggests a mix between a tax and a voluntary agreement between manufacturers and government. Under the scheme, companies would agree to work towards a certain level of recycled material use, with lower tax levels applicable on virgin newsprint the closer to the target they actually reached.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.