Recycled policy
Apr 6, 2013
Bishop Hill in Climate: WG3, Climate: sensitivity, Recycling

Lest we get too excited about the quenching of Geoffrey Lean's AGW ardour, the Mail's front-page story will concentrate minds. The subject is recycling and, erm, recycles a story that has done the rounds before, namely that a significant proportion of what householders are forced to sort is then shipped to the Far East, where it is subsequently quietly landfilled.

The reason for this travesty is that you, the public, are not up to scratch.

The Environment Agency are quoted as saying:

'We are particularly concerned about illegal exports of mixed household waste mis-described as paper or plastic. These typically derive from poorly-performing household collection and sorting systems.'

Also interesting is this revelation of the truth about why we are being forced to recycle:

Defra has...acknowledged that the main reason for compulsory recycling schemes is not lack of landfill space or the need to combat climate change, but instead the demands of the EU's Waste Framework Directive, the latest version of which came into force last year.

But let us note that the general theme of the story is not new. Recycling is mad, bad and a waste of resources that is being done at the demand of an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels, members of which have no doubt done very well from the arrangement. This has been understood for years.

And yet still policy remains unchanged. So when we consider how recognition of lower climate sensitivity will affect public policy, we have to recognise that we live in a country in which the mere fact that a policy results in insanity is insufficient grounds for its being dumped. The self-interested inertia of bureaucrats in Whitehall and Brussels will ensure that the public interest is spurned for many years to come.

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