Excluding private/industrial landfills, which are largely dedicated facilities provided in conjunction with certain types of industrial installations, the report shows that a total of 3.1 million tonnes of waste was accepted at local authority landfills in 2001. Of this, 1.25 million tonnes, or 40%, was household waste, with a further 0.53 million tonnes, or 17%, being attributable to the commercial sector.
The extent of waste from these sectors which is consigned to landfill reflects low rates of waste recovery. The recovery rate for the municipal waste sector as a whole, although rising, is only 13.3%. Within that category, the recovery rate for the household sector is only 5.6%. These compare unfavourably with the recovery rates of other sectors. For example, the database shows over 25% recovery in surveyed industrial sectors, with some 65% recovery recorded in the construction and demolition sector.
Because of these low recovery rates, the correspondingly high volumes of waste landfilled, and the environmental difficulties associated with trying to manage mixed municipal waste, the Race Against Waste campaign focuses, in particular, on householders and small businesses. The campaign does not seek to apportion blame, rather it aims to heighten awareness in relation to the need to improve recycling rates and provide useful information on how to do this. The campaign is timed to coincide with a significant increase in the recycling infrastructure, which is now coming on stream, supported by significant resources which I have allocated from the environment fund.
The reaction to the campaign so far has been overwhelmingly positive. This is unsurprising given the findings of research carried out last year, which shows three out of four people in favour of the Government spending money on environmental campaigns. I look forward to the continued roll out of the campaign in the months ahead.