OPINION: Are financial penalties the only way to boost recycling?

A full recycling bin in Sheffield
A full recycling bin in Sheffield
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Sometimes the answer to a problem is complex. Others, the answer is staring you in the face.

The council is altering recycling collections to save £3.4 million - in the same week we showed the council spends £4m a year cleaning up our litter in public spaces.

But improving recycling is vital, not just in Sheffield but globally.

The council needs to make it easier to recycle: in Sheffield there’s a blue bin and a small box which are supposed to cover all recycling between them.

When I lived in Cardiff, you were given regular bunches of green bags to fill with paper, glass, cans and plastic all at once and could have as many as needed collected from the roadside.

But we all need to seriously reconsider how we consume.

The number of plastic bags used since the 5p charge has dropped from a staggering 7 billion in six months to just 0.5bn.

It’s clear we can get by on that amount, so why weren’t we before? Why does it take a financial penalty to make us less wasteful?

We all need a good look at what we’re doing to cut waste and recycle more, because natural resources are ever dwindling.

Buy in bulk. Visit a recycling bank. Avoid over-packaged items. Reuse a container.

We can ALL do something, starting today.