Good Evening SuperForesters
Following the UK news this week, I was excited to see that with the new year comes politicians setting out new strategies to reduce waste: EFRA (the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee made up of Members of Parliament) published their Report into UK waste and London Mayor Boris Johnson announced “London’s Wasted Resource”, his draft municipal waste strategy for London. And to those unfamiliar with him: yes, that really is his hair.
The EFRA report recommended that the government introduce “mandatory collection” of food waste from our houses (or flats) and ban leftovers going to landfill. They also encouraged the government to set targets for separate collection of food waste for composting or producing energy, and said that councils should provide support for us to compost at home (incidentally, it’s definitely worth checking out whether your local council does provide composting support – Camden, although being significantly more expensive than I’d like, did offer me a heavily subsidised wormery delivered to my door – not the worms, they were sent to my office by special delivery – when I delved into the website. Yay!)
The report also called for action to reduce the amount of retail and industrial waste, including suggesting that retailers above a certain size to be required to publish their recycling statistics – which, given that less than 10% of England’s total waste (of a shocking c.330m tonnes a year) is domestic, seems a hugely important area to focus on. You can read more at the Guardian.
Then came Boris! London’s Wasted Resource outlined plans to cut the amount of rubbish going to landfill sites to zero within 15 years and included his support of a 2010 London-based trial of an American scheme called Recycle Bank, which gives householders shopping vouchers or donations to charity to the value of how much they recycle. The Strategy is now being consulted on by London Assembly and Greater London Authority until March 15 2010 with a full public consultation due for this summer. You can read more about it here (or if you’re really keen you can scope the whole 174 page document here!)
If you’re at all interested in waste (hey, you’re SuperForesters!) then do please read a truly eye opening article on food waste here (45% of bagged salads?!) and if you’d like to do something about your own, check out Love Food Hate Waste - a super resource of info and doable tips for how to plan your shop, recipes and clever storage ideas.
It struck me that what both reports have in common is their conception of waste as a resource – both directly (via energy-from-waste technology) or negatively (by reducing waste you open up previously lost revenue). It seems a little odd, but perhaps that’s the way to get things done on a city-wide/national scale?
Sure, it’s just announcing of broad strategy – and politics (especially in an election year) is full of policies that end up unfulfilled – but it’s great to see it on the agenda, and remember we can vote (literally) with our feet (not literally. Unless you’re really flexible)
(and thank you, as ever, to The Grauniad for bringing me the news)