In 2014, Living Fuels collected enough used cooking oil to power over 15,000 homes nationwide. This record breaking amount that has been collected from across the UK proves that attitudes and awareness of recycling used cooking have turned a corner this year.
Just look at those stats!
It is not just cooking oil recycling that has done well this year, attitudes towards waste management as a whole have improved dramatically. The statistics are showing that we are now recycling more as householders than ever before. Businesses generate much less waste and reuse or recycle more than before. Local authorities across the UK have managed to reduce waste sent to landfill by 60% from five years ago .
Over the past year, there has been a 72% rise in the quantity of used oil being delivered to the Living Fuels recycling plants. Due to this increased demand a fifth Bio-Power plant has been launched this year in North Yorkshire providing power to the National Grid’s Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) service.
What does all this good news mean?
It shows that times are changing and we are a step closer to a society where resources are valued, financially and environmentally. The sky is the limit for what can be achieved, proven by Finnair, who flew an airbus A330 from Helsinki to New York in September 2014, powered with 50% recycled used cooking oil.
We are providing the next generation with waste management skills and knowledge leading by example at homes and in schools. This year ‘recycling’ played a part in the national curriculum for the first time with schools up and down the country actively recycling and contributing to community waste initiatives.
Maybe the ambitious target set by the European Environment Agency to meet a target of recycling 50% of waste by 2020 might not have been that unrealistic after all – maybe it can be achieved.
But it’s not just consumer attitudes to waste that have changed, the business aspect has trebled in size in the last ten years, despite the recession. It’s now worth billions of pounds to the UK and provides tens of thousands of jobs. Success it seems has been achieved, and we should be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
So what now?
Knowing what we’ve achieved, and seeing the scale of the task still ahead, we need to ask ourselves how we can use the successes of the 2014 to help overcome future obstacles. We need to think about how we can better share the best practices we know work, and consider new ways of increasing waste recycling; ways that will help both consumers and businesses increase recycling.
Perhaps we need to look at our neighbours such as Germany, Austria and Belgium, who are already hitting their targets and recycling more than 50% of their waste. UK recycling levels are increasing – but now we need to make recycling ‘second nature’.