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News about Britain
December 2002
Each month, the background to a story about Britain.
Read the story with the help of the glossary. Look at three related stories from around the UK. Then do two exercises - speaking and writing.

    Story summary

A survey which involved 1,000 street interviews across England shows different attitudes to recycling in the North and the South. The survey comes after a recent government report showed that recycling rates have increased only slightly over the last eight years.


North 'rubbish' at Recycling

The North-South divide has been split open again - this time by a survey into recycling.

A report by the environmentalists behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign says people in the North West and Yorkshire are the worst at recycling.

The "greenest" are well-off home-owning couples in their 40s and 50s, mostly living in the South West, South East and London.

The survey was carried out by charity Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS) to find out why England is lagging so far behind its European counterparts on recycling.

The biggest incentive for people to recycle was the fear that a landfill site could be opened up on their doorstep or that the government would start charging them for the amount of rubbish they binned, the survey found.

Those who admitted to doing absolutely nothing included those who do not read newspapers and believe the only people who do recycle are "hippies, loonies and anoraks".

ENCAMS marketing director Sue Nelson said: "Recycling has an image problem and this is something organisations, pressure groups and councils have to think about.

"From the language we use to the campaigns we run and the publicity events we stage, we have to consider how that comes across.

"The only way to reduce the rubbish we create is to include everyone and we'll never do that unless we make environmentalism more about the mainstream than the extreme."

View the Glossary/wordbank for News about Britain


Links about rubbish:

What's happening around the UK?

Scotland: Eco Schools
The Royal School of Dunkeld in Scotland and Banareng Primary School in South Africa have formed a link under the Eco Schools programme. Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell visited the school when he attended the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.

Wales: War on Waste
A "war on waste" has been declared by Merthyr Council with the launch of a new kerbside recycling scheme.

Northern Ireland: Climb every ....refrigerator
Northern Ireland faced a refrigerator mountain at the start of 2002 as
thousands of fridges and freezers started to pile up in recycling points as a new European directive banning the destruction of fridges containing CFCs came into force.

Exercise 1: Speaking

Read the 3 stories above about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Then imagine that you have a budget to run a campaign to persuade people in the north of England to recycle their household rubbish. You have to give a presentation lasting just one minute.

Prepare what you want to say, then click on the clock.
You will see how long you have left - and every ten seconds you'll see some helpful prompts to assist you:

Time left:

Exercise 2: Writing

The streets where you live are very dirty. You want to complain to your local councillor. Complete the following letter - we've helped you a little bit.

Dear Councillor Jones,
I am writing to complain the state of the streets in our part of town. I live in Robson Avenue and we now sort our rubbish and put it in different plastic bins. We have to remember to put paper and cardboard in the blue bin, glass (but not plastic) in the brown bin. This is a good idea . But it just doesn't work.

People don't their rubbish in the correct place. the streets around the boxes are littered with bits of rubbish.

Could I make two suggestions? - make sure that the refuse collection happens early: it's waiting till afternoon as the rubbish will blow away. Second,
organising a competition for the cleanest street?

Print out the full letter here




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