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Waste line obsession

Letters

The government's waste strategy targets were based on the common assumption that recycling saves money.

However, council officers have known for years that recycling schemes cost much more than landfill, and that the UK's extra annual costs will soon exceed £1bn.

We should thank AEA Technology and CSS (NCE 27 June) for warning that the figure will be double that.

Recycling is also assumed to be environmentally beneficial, but throwing resources at recycling uses energy which, by releasing fossil carbon as extra CO 2, adds to global warming.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics makes clear that input resources exceed useful output so, unless renewable energy is used, the environmental costs of recycling must outweigh the environmental benefits.

As things are, the current pursuit of 'sustainable waste management' simply makes matters worse.

With the Johannesburg world summit imminent, perhaps it is time to realise that 'waste's waste, because waste's waste, because waste's waste, because à' and come up with a more sustainable approach to waste management than merely striving to meet these illconsidered recycling and composting targets.

Paul Kirkley (M), 25 Capel Close, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7LA

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