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[GreenYes] UK: Required recycling law leads to trial

It looks like a 1990 UK law allows local governments to specify how people
separate their wastes and which bins should be used. It will be interesting
to see whether other localities in the UK follow the Exeter City Council's
lead of enforcing residential recycling regulations, and whether they apply
to businesses as well.

Fromthe Independent, a UK newspaper at

Mother faces trial for falling down on her recycling efforts

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 18 May 2006

Another milestone will be passed next week in Britain's slow transformation
into a country that recycles its rubbish - the first prosecution of a
householder for failing to recycle properly.

Donna Challice, from Exeter, is due in court in Devon on Monday accused of
"contaminating" waste collections by putting non-recyclable items in her
green bin - which is only designed to hold paper, cans, plastic and paper.

Ms Challice, 38, who has three children, may have to pay £1,000 in fines and
court costs if she is found guilty in a test case brought by Exeter City

A spokesman for the council said legal action was taken "as a last resort"
after Ms Challice was sent several warning letters. He said the prosecution
would send out a "stark warning" about recycling rules. Mike Trim, the
authority's head of cleansing services, said just one resident abusing their
green bin could contaminate recyclable waste from 300 other households. "We
believe this is the first case in the country," he said. "Prosecution is the
last resort. But it is one we are prepared to take. Council officers work
hard to ensure residents understand the scheme and which items can be placed
in which containers. We try to educate and convince so that people will know
how it all works and go along with it."

Ms Challice will appear at Cullompton magistrates' court on Monday charged
with an offence under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Under the Act, local authorities have the power to specify how people
separate their waste, which bin it should be put in and which day it should
be collected. In 2005, Exeter City Council sent 1,500 first warning letters
to residents, 300 second letters and around 15 or 20 people - including Ms
Challice - were sent a final warning.

But Ms Challice, who is unemployed, accused the council of being "petty" and
said she was simply concentrating on bringing up her children, Warren, 14,
Kimberly, 12, and Ryan, 10. "I've got far more important things to worry
about," she said. "The council is being petty but if they want to spend
their time and money taking this to court they can. It's a day out for me
but I can't afford to pay the fine.

"There is land near the back of my home that is always being used as a
dumping zone for fridges and freezers. The council should spend their money
clearing that up instead."

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said
it was the first such action brought under the Act. The minister responsible
for recycling at the department, Ben Bradshaw - who is MP for Exeter - said
it was important for everyone to recycle seriously. "Failure to do so
damages the environment and costs our fellow council taxpayers," he said.
From6 April people who disobey recycling rules can face on-the-spot fines
of £100 under the Clean Neighbourhoods Act. Britain's recycling rates are
now steadily rising, after languishing for a long time near the bottom of
the European recycling league. Latest figures show households are recycling
23 per cent of their waste. Nine years ago that figure was just 7.5 per

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