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The recycling myth

Consumer demand shows we want to be better at recycling. We worry about plastic and anguish over what goes in which bin. But how effective is it?

Britain is failing to recycle waste. Photo: Veolia

Once a year the UK has an Open House day where all sorts of places—from Downing Street to farms, mines and schools—open their doors to the public. One dismal rainy Saturday last autumn, I went along to the open house at the Veolia recycling sorting depot in Southwark. I walked 15 minutes from the bus stop through low red brick estates, across the Old Kent Road, to an industrial area with an old gas works and a bus depot. The Veolia recycling…

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