The British government announced yesterday that it will set new recycling requirements, hoping to turn around what Environment Minister Michael Meacher called the nation’s “pathetic” recycling rate. In England and Wales, people recycle just 8 percent of their household waste, compared to 45 percent in the Netherlands and 52 percent in Switzerland. Local authorities in Britain will have to start or increase doorstep collection of recyclable materials so that by 2010 at least 30 percent of domestic waste is recycled or composted. The program will also require the government to buy products made from recycled materials.