21 Jul 2008
Glos waste discussed
I had all sorts of plans about writing up a very comprehensive summary of the Waste Advisory Panel meeting at the District Council last week - I was one of the two Greens represented on the all-party panel to look at what will happen to our waste - however time is catching up on me so here will only be the highlights - minutes will probably be available - and I am more than happy to discuss if anyone has specific queries.
Photo: above the waste from a family who are trying to go zero - this pic was taken from their Zero Waste website - see more at end of this blog about that site
One of the key purposes of the meeting was to set the scene and to participate in a consultation process by consultants of Glos County Council looking at approaches to waste. There was much useful discussion but I have to say that there were several areas of deep concern;
1. Parishes missed from consultation: the Parishes who had expressed an interest in waste - interestingly the 5 closest to the proposed Javelin Park site - had submitted papers but for some reason were not invited to a consultation - this seems very strange indeed - I have asked for more info making the point that if there was not a good reason such a move would be shocking and add to the doubt in many people's minds that the decision has already in effect been made and that the consultation process is not real.
2. Categories within the consultation: part of the process was to rate aspects like cost and flexibility but the seemingly arbitrary ways that categories were lumped together made assessment very difficult - hence the process starts to loose any real meaning.
3. Meaning of categories: worse still you could look at an issue like cost and assume it means all costs - but no wait - it is much more complex - stuff like transporting all the waste to one site in Glos rather than several local sites is not included!! This means rising oil prices in this case are just not taken into account. There were other similar examples.
4. Climate change: most shameful of all was the lack of a specific category considering climate change - how is this possible? I made the strongest point possible on this and was somewhat reassured that other consultations so far had also had this issue raised.
Anyhow while I came out unhappy with the way the consultation was organised - I do accept it is an enormously difficult thing to do - and at least the County is trying - and I still want to believe that this is a genuine consultation - and I do at least have confidence in those doing the consultation to take back the concerns that we raised. I've discussed this issue of waste lots previously on this blog - see here for a look at some of the key issues or click on labels below.
At the moment a third of households in Stroud District do not recycle - it is clear that unless things improve then all taxpayers will have to foot the ever-increasing bill - as I said at the meeting it is very disappointing that the County did not have some urgency on this issue some years ago - we then would not be in such a mess. It is going to take some brave moves if we are to do the right thing for ourselves and future generations and not go for one large incinerator at Javelin Park - to do that really would be the wrong decision.
Kamikatsu - 34 categories
One example of good practice that got a mention was Kamikatsu, a small community in the hills of eastern Japan, which is leading on "Zero Waste". Residents there now have to compost all their food waste and sort other rubbish into 34 different categories! See Kamikatsu covered by the BBC here - infact there are no waste collections from households at all. Kitchen waste has to be composted. Non-food waste is processed either in local shops which accept goods for recycling or in Kamikatsu's Zero Waste Centre. There, people have to sort their unwanted items into 34 different boxes for recycling. The scheme was adopted when councillors realised it was much cheaper than incineration - even if the incinerator was used to generate power.
Infact zero waste is now the aim of quite a number of companies and indeed countries like New Zealand - why not for Glos? And they are not using 34 categories! There are many different ways to work towards zero waste. I recently came across this blog of a family doing their bit - well worth a look - indeed inspiring and ordinary stuff -= just what we need: