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Waste and Recycling, the Next 10 Year Strategy

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Was there ever such a silent start to a public consultation?   Wiltshire Council’s consultation on their next ten year strategy for Waste and Recycling Strategy was put on their web-site on 4 September, but for some reason information in the Press followed some two to three weeks later. 

Paper copies were not in the Libraries until a month later.  Those on Facebook and Twitter may have fared better.

The current cost of managing all the waste is £30 million a year, and the need is to reduce costs.   Obviously having less waste to manage would be one answer.  The co-operation of households will make all the difference.  

Sending waste to landfill costs the Council £86.10 per tonne so the first ten year strategy concentrated on ways of avoiding that.   Lorries are sent miles to an incinerator, the least good option. A mechanical biological plant has been built at Westbury which sorts and treats waste with machines inside an enclosed building ending up with a safe dry fuel that is shipped to Germany and then burnt to produce energy.  Perhaps if the waste was burnt adjacent to the mechanical biological plant and energy put into the grid in Westbury, it would save transport to Germany?  The three Rs, Reducing, Re-using and Recycling are far and away the best options.

Producers do not seem to have found ways to reduce packaging and it is not easy to buy goods without it so this is an area where there is still progress to be made.    An interesting paragraph in the consultation about food waste states the reason the Council does not collect food waste separately is because it is expensive to do so in a rural county and because 

other local authorities have introduced food waste collections but have found they did not collect as much food waste as hoped due to people reducing their food waste once they saw how much they were throwing away….., people not producing much food waste, or people not wanting to store food waste in a separate container.”

Surely people reducing their food waste is a strong reason to do a separate weekly food waste collection, if only for the length of time it takes to be effective in reducing that waste.  It seems that short term spending could achieve long term savings that would be highly beneficial. People would be better off as they would not be buying food to throw away.

Reusing and recycling waste has increased a lot in the past ten years.   Furniture and white goods are being repaired so they can be reused and benefit many people.   Vegetable peelings are being composted at home where space is available for a composting bin known as a green joanna.   What a good idea it would be to label the recycling bins so there is no doubt about what to put in them. Having recyclables that are cleaned and sorted makes managing waste much easier.

 In July 2018 we will be able to recycle a greater variety of plastics. Will the collecting boxes and bins be big enough?   Currently the Council earns money for some of the recyclable goods and has to pay for others.   Hopefully, there will soon be a market for all recyclable goods.

It is bad news for farmers whenever there is a change to Household Recycling Centres, as seen with the change to opening hours.  Inevitably their gateways are filled with waste dumped by those who have found the Centre closed.   There is no doubt that having efficient local HRCs increases the recycling and reuse of waste rather than putting it into black bags for more expensive treatment, being converted to fuel for energy by various means with residues going to landfill.

So why is there a consultation question about what would encourage you to travel further to a Household Recycling Centre?  It does not make sense to encourage recycling and then close a centre. Hopefully, before the consultation ends on 14 November, Wiltshire residents will show that the way forward is to keep them all open.  See this link for full consultation details.

 

 

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