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Waste management around the world

clip_image002The UK government has substantially upped its efforts to improve recycling over the past decade. With landfill sites filling up and space at a premium in the UK, more and more of us are being encouraged to recycle.

However, whilst many of us seem to have caught the recycling bug here in the UK, large scale change can only be achieved through worldwide participation in recycling practises, and whilst considerable improvement has been made, the UK is still a long way off meeting our EU target of 50% of our waste to be recycled. So what is the rest of the world doing when it comes to waste recycling, and is there anything that we learn from it?

Recycling policy differs from country to country and the amount each country recycles will ultimately depend on a combination of both the attitude of the government in place at the time and the amount of consumer pressure in that area. As of 2013, the UK ranked in 11th place in the recycling tables at 39%. In contrast, fellow EU member Austria topped the world tables with a recycling rate of 63%. Austria has managed to make such considerable advances because of two main factors. The first is media presence. Austria has managed to use advertising and the media to cultivate really positive attitudes surrounding the recycling process, which in turn has diffused through the whole of Austrian society, encouraging more and more people to recycle. Secondly, with state of the art facilities and machinery available to companies, more and more people are being incentivised to go into the recycling business, which in turn has increased demand for recyclable materials.

However, whilst it’s important that we don’t dismiss the UK’s shortcomings compared to Austria, it is important to point out that the UK has undoubtedly made considerable improvement, doubling how much it recycles over the past 15 years, and there are still plenty of countries that the UK is vastly outperforming.

Nigeria is one example. Africa’s most populous country is one of those guilty of lagging far behind with what is expected when it comes to recycling. Their infrastructure is unequipped to deal with the waste that they are producing and many of it ends up in open landfill. Estimates suggest that only 13% of recyclable materials are ever recovered from city landfills, meaning that more and more new products have to be created in order to feed the demand for plastics and glass whilst recyclable materials lie unprocessed in landfill sites.

Romania is another example. The country has extremely lax laws when it comes to waste management. Despite agreeing to EU targets being set at 50% of its waste to be recycled, Romania has been guilty of badly failing in its recycling efforts. Without the right controls put in place, and a lack of investment in both facilities and schemes, meeting these targets has been made almost impossible. Estimates suggest that just 1% of waste is ever recycled.

So, whilst the UK is doing ok, it could still do much better, which could be helped by government intervention, more awareness campaigns, more financial incentives, and businesses having the equipment needed to recycle more. Recycling is a major consideration for LSPS in Leicester, and we are dedicated to recycling everything possible to reduce waste going to landfill. If more companies offered the same service, recycling as much waste as possible, then it could greatly help with the UK’s performance. For more information about recycling, please read our article, “Recycling: are we doing our bit?”

What can I put inside my skip?

clip_image002One of the most common questions that comes up when people are inquiring about hiring a skip is what items are they allowed to put in it.

Whilst skips are an excellent choice for getting rid of most things, for legal or practical reasons some items, such as liquids, are not permitted to be put in skips and therefore need to be disposed of in other ways.

Different skip hire companies will often have different rules as to what can go in their skips, so if you have items that you are unsure about it is always best to ask first before hiring. However, this article aims to give a broad overview of the type of products that might not be allowed. Everyone has different reasons for choosing a skip, so to make it easier, we’ve divided this guide up into common uses for skips.

Skips for household use

If you’re moving house and getting rid of some old possessions, or perhaps just looking to de-clutter your home as part of a spring clean then hiring a skip can be a handy solution. But you should be aware that some items, such as fridges and freezers are not permitted to be disposed of in skips as they contain harmful gases. However, you can arrange for fridge freezers to be collected by the council; typically, this costs around £10-30, or alternatively you can look to transport the fridge to a designated fridge freezer recycling plant yourself. Other household items they may be forbidden include electrical equipment such as TVs and computer screens, fluorescent tubes and air conditioning units. Batteries are also not allowed in skips, but there are many places within local communities that now have battery recycling facilities.

Construction and decorators waste

The nature of the construction process typically requires a place to put lots of waste products such as concrete, stone, bricks and other rubble. For this reason, skips are commonplace in building sites across the UK. If you’re looking to renovate old buildings and houses, you should be aware that asbestos is not permitted to be disposed of in skips as this material is dangerous for anyone in contact with it. Furthermore, paints and solvents should not be placed in skips, as paint is a chemical compound and skip hire firms do not hold licenses to dispose of this type of hazardous waste. Plasterboard is often not allowed in skips either.


Oil, petrol and diesel are all products that are highly flammable and are not permitted to be put into skips as there is always a chance that they could ignite. The same applies to gas bottles and canisters. Tyres and vehicle batteries are also not allowed to be disposed of in this way as these materials are extremely toxic to the environment and need to be disposed of at a registered recycler. In fact, as a general rule of thumb anything that is considered to be a hazardous or toxic material is not allowed in a skip.

Clinical or medical waste

Medical waste cannot be disposed of in skips because these materials could prove hazardous to those who come into contact with them. As a result, this type of waste is subject to very tight controls and doctors, vets or pharmacies who want to get rid of this type of waste must contact a company that is authorised to recover and dispose of medical waste.

Most other items can be disposed of in skips, but if you have got any specific concerns about what you can or cannot put in a skip, or for other general queries then please call LSPS on 0800 083 7807. More information about hiring a skip can also be found in our article “Hiring a skip? Here are some ground rules”.

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