GOOD

Wales Managed to Double Its Recycling Rate in Just a Few Years

Wales recycled 48 percent of its household waste this year, more than double its recycling rate in 2005. Apparently progress is possible after all.

In 2005, the United States recycled 32.1 percent of its household waste—far better than Wales, which recycled only 23.1 percent of household waste in 2005-06. But between 2005 and 2010—the most recent year for which statistics are available—the U.S. recycling rate increased rather sluggishly, from 32.1 percent to 34.1 percent. Wales, meanwhile, just announced that its 2011-12 recycling rate was a remarkable 48 percent—more than double what it was six years ago. So what gives? What has Wales done since 2005 that we haven’t?


A key factor—at least according to the Guardian—has been Wales’ push to recycle or re-use all waste by 2050. The Towards Zero Waste program, which was launched two years ago this month, aims to increase Wales’ recycling rate by 1.5 percentage points every year from now through 2050. To make that happen, the country has actually passed hard recycling targets into law—pretty much a pipe dream in the United States—and has consistently met those targets. On top of that, Wales limits the amount of biodegradable waste that can be sent to landfills. It’s also governed by the European Union’s Waste Framework Directive, but that hardly seems to matter anymore; the directive requires countries to recycle 50 percent of household waste by 2020, but Wales might reach that figure by the end of this summer.

So what does that mean for those of us who don’t live in Wales? For one thing, knowing that recycling is the right thing to do isn’t enough—if Americans want to make serious headway on reducing waste, legal standards are probably necessary. For another, progress doesn’t have to be slow—if Wales can set ambitious goals and meet them, the United States can probably do the same.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Articles
via Jason S Campbell / Twitter

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager defended his use of the word "ki*e," on his show Thursday by insisting that people should be able to use the word ni**er as well.

It all started when a caller asked why he felt comfortable using the term "ki*e" while discussing bigotry while using the term "N-word" when referring to a slur against African-Americans.

Prager used the discussion to make the point that people are allowed to use anti-Jewish slurs but cannot use the N-word because "the Left" controls American culture.

Keep Reading
Politics

Step by step. 8 million steps actually. That is how recent college graduate and 22-year-old Sam Bencheghib approached his historic run across the United States. That is also how he believes we can all individually and together make a big impact on ridding the world of plastic waste.

Keep Reading
The Planet

According to the FBI, the number of sexual assaults reported during commercial flights have increased "at an alarming rate." There was a 66% increase in sexual assault on airplanes between 2014 and 2017. During that period, the number of opened FBI investigations into sexual assault on airplanes jumped from 38 to 63. And flight attendants have it worse. A survey conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA found that 70% of flight attendants had been sexually harassed while on the job, while only 7% reported it.

Keep Reading
Travel