The wide world of recycling

The wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Dubai wants its residents and businesses to better sort their recyclables, and the U.K. has enacted a new law meant to crack down on metal theft.

Faced with shrinking landfill space and a low recycling rate, the municipal government of Dubai is reaching out to businesses and residents to help the emirate meet its target of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, reports

The emirate has distributed new bins to nearly 4,000 households as part of a plan to better segregate household refuse at its source, reports the paper. The bins are designed to collect cardboard, plastic and glass bottles, cans and food scraps. The emirate plans to gradually expand the program to every portion of Dubai beginning in 2013.

The emirate has already launched an initiative aimed at getting shopping centers and malls to better segregate their waste and scrap materials. However, the paper reports that most failed to meet a 2012 deadline, which was extended to February of next year. Those that aren't in compliance by the new deadline could face fines.

In the U.K., a new law has gone into effect that is intended to clamp down on metal theft, which the government estimates costs the country 220 million British pounds ($353 million) annually.

The new law, which went into effect early in December, removes the "no questions" asked cash payment system that has allowed unscrupulous trade in the metals recycling industry to thrive. It also ups financial penalties for sketchy metals dealers, with illegal traders now facing fines up to 5,000 pounds ($8,000).

"Metal theft affects everyone and the impact on our communities is immense. From loss of power to homes and disruption in rail services to desecrated war memorials, all our lives are blighted by this national problem," said Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne in a prepared statement.

The new law gives law enforcement new powers, and it's supported with 5 million pounds ($8 million).

However, the British metals recycling industry isn't happy with the measure.

"Banning cash alone will have a devastating effect on legitimate small traders whilst having little effect on the rate of metal theft, unless there is a robust regulatory framework to back it up," said Ian Hetherington, director general of the British Metals Recycling Association, in a prepared statement.

"If illegal sites are allowed to continue to trade, they will no doubt offer householders and businesses payment in cash too, therefore negating the purpose of the cash ban – to remove the rewards that make metal theft so enticing," he said.

The association is concerned that the law will adversely affect small dealers who collect scrap from households and businesses for cash payments, while leaving the problem of metal theft unresolved.

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