From the Blog of Cllr John Trustrum (Chelmsford)
Another Independents views on Recycling.
Comments: 10 Stars : 0
I have just mailed the following letter to our local paper. All other councillors - were strongly in favour of the new waste recycling rules. I put up a lonely voice against - but it certainly seem to have struck a chord with the local "Joe Bloggs". I wonder if any other Independents have seen through the recycling scam?
-------------------- Letter to Tamworth Herald --- starts ----------------
"Recycling Is A Load Of Rubbish"
As Tamworth's recycling regime gradually tightens the screws people are discovering its authoritarian nature. The "closed lid", "wrong box", "too heavy", "contaminated" and other policies are gradually being enforced and biting. People get confused and angry. They should understand what's really going on.
Waste recycling produces processes that are more damaging to the environment than any amount of landfill. It's pure madness! Common sense dictates two things Government should concentrate on - making less waste and ensuring things are made to last (we all know about "built in" obsolesce!) and are easily repairable.
Instead the Government forces recycling by slashing landfill sites from 167 to 14 and charges punishing landfill taxes rising to £60 per tonne. What's the cost of this chicanery? Well the Institute of Civil Engineers reckons £10 billion infrastructure (£400 for every home) and £8 billion yearly to run (a quarter of the cost of the NHS!). Some enterprising councils have found it cheaper to send recycled waste to Indonesia - to end up in landfill there! Also there'll need to be several hundred giant waste incinerating plants around the UK. Won't put it in the ground? So, chuck it into the air instead! Fly-tipping is also made more attractive to the criminally inclined!
Shhush! Don't mention the EU! Yet it'll come as no surprise to a long suffering public that the EU is at the back of this recycling disaster with directives to phase out landfill altogether - simply because one or two smaller EU states don't have space.
Remember this as your council tax soars year on year, or maggots infest your bin, or your bin is left unemptied as punishment for not recycling properly. Don't blame the bin men. Blame those who try to con us into accepting it's "for the environment". Tell them it's a load of rubbish!
Cllr Chris Cooke, Tamworth.
Back to entries Comment on this entry
From Jamie on 20 January 2006 at 16:02
Are you a bit stupid because a number of the points made in your letter are just plain wrong? I could point them out but I doubt you'd understand. Either that or you'd blame the sneaky EU or someone else. Always someone else. Just make the small amount of effort that recycling requires and get on with it.
Cllr Chris Cooke on 21 January 2006 at 16:06
Perhaps you could just identify the points in my letter that you believe to be "wrong" so I can either reply to you - or perhaps even apologise for getting them wrong if you are indeed right about my alleged stupidity and low intelligence?
If you want you can contact me direct on firstname.lastname@example.org And I can send you an enormous amount more than I can put into a single letter to a local newspaper!! (Or anyone else for that matter - feel free!).
Until then I don't really see how I can sensibly reply to your comment at all!
Cllr Chris Cooke
pindu (Homepage) on 22 January 2006 at 18:05 pshh.. u ppl don’t know a thing abut recyling.. i can poin em out.. but forget it.. there's no point in mentionin wut is rite to an animal that always does wut is rong... as jamie said earlier.. Just make the small amount of effort that recycling requires and get on with it.
Cllr Chris Cooke on 23 January 2006 at 10:17
Jamie / Pindu
Pity. I had hoped for a sensible debate - which is not possible if dealing with childish ill-educated nutter-language.
Cllr Chris Cooke
sally mcdavid on 27 January 2006 at 09:55
this is a test post to see if it works.
Jamie on 02 February 2006 at 16:46
Hi Chris, and, by extension, John,
I have responded to your letter below. My comments are in capitals – to stand out, not because I’m shouting :o) (editor’s note - actually Jamie’s text has been coloured BLUE-GREEN to stand out)
As Tamworth's recycling regime gradually tightens the screws people are discovering its authoritarian nature. The "closed lid", "wrong box", "too heavy", "contaminated" and other policies are gradually being enforced and biting. – IT’S HARDLY AUTHORITARIAN TO HAVE SENSIBLE RULES WHICH HAVE TO BE IMPLEMENTED FOR A REASON. People get confused and angry. They should understand what's really going on. THEY SHOULD, AND ALL OF THESE THINGS SEEM TO BE EASILY UNDERSTANDABLE TO ME. WHAT PART OF ‘CLOSED LID, WRONG BOX, TOO HEAVY OR CONTAMINATED’ ARE PEOPLE FAILING TO UNDERSTAND? I’M NOT GOING TO BE SO PATRONISING AS TO EXPLAIN THESE POLICIES HERE.
Waste recycling produces processes that are more damaging to the environment than any amount of landfill. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE AND ALSO DISREGARDS THE SIGNIFICANT ISSUE OF RESOURCE USE. WE DO NOT HAVE UNLIMITED RESOURCES IN TERMS OF RAW MATERIALS, ENERGY AND SPACE FOR LANDFILL. RECYCLING USES LESS ENERGY AND RESOURCES THAN MAKING PRODUCTS FROM SCRATCH. It's pure madness! Common sense dictates two things Government should concentrate on - making less waste AGREE 100%, THE GOVERNMENT IS SLACK ON THIS ALTHOUGH WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH TAMWORTH’S RECYCLING SCHEME IS BEYOND ME. ANYWAY, THE THREE R’S SHOULD BE OBEYED AT ALL TIMES: REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE. and ensuring things are made to last (we all know about "built in" obsolesce!) and are easily repairable. AGREE COMPLETELY (ALTHOUGH I THINK YOU MEAN OBSOLESCENCE).
Instead the Government forces recycling by slashing landfill sites from 167 to 14 and charges punishing landfill taxes rising to £60 per tonne. INDEED, RECOGNISING THAT LANDFILL USE IS NEITHER DESIRABLE NOR SUSTAINABLE THE GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN ACTION. SURE, THE CYNICAL MIGHT SUGGEST THAT IT’S AN ADDITIONAL WAY OF GETTING MORE MONEY ALTHOUGH MUCH OF THIS HAS BEEN DISHED OUT TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS UNDER THE LANDFILL TAX CREDIT SCHEME. IN ADDITION IT HAS REDUCED THE NUMBER OF LANDFILL SITES AND CONSEQUENTLY PUSHED RECYCLING. THESE ARE GOOD THINGS. What's the cost of this chicanery? Well the Institute of Civil Engineers reckons £10 billion infrastructure (£400 for every home) and £8 billion yearly to run (a quarter of the cost of the NHS!). IF YOU READ THE REPORT RATHER THAN A COMMENT IN A NEWSPAPER IT IS FAR MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT. THE I.C.E. DESCRIBES OUR CURRENT WASTE SITUATION AS A ‘TICKING TIMEBOMB’ AND IT IS CLEAR THAT WHATEVER APPROACH WE TAKE THERE WILL BE A HIGH FINANCIAL COST. SORTING OUT PROBLEMS (AND WE CURRENTLY HAVE ONE) IS AN EXPENSIVE BUSINESS. I FIND IT WORRYING THAT A COUNCILLOR IS SO PREPARED TO OVERLOOK THE HIGH ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF LANDFILL. Some enterprising councils have found it cheaper to send recycled waste to Indonesia - to end up in landfill there! NO, IT IS ILLEGAL TO EXPORT WASTE AND DESPITE RECENT REPORTS STATING THAT THIS MIGHT HAPPEN, THERE HAS BEEN NO EVIDENCE THAT IT HAS HAPPENED OR IS HAPPENING. A LARGE AMOUNT OF RECYCLABLE MATERIAL IS SENT TO THE FAR EAST AND OTHER AREAS WITH A LARGE MANUFACTURING BASE. THIS IS BECAUSE THERE IS A DEMAND THERE THAT DOES NOT EXIST WITHIN THE UK. IT WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE DESIRABLE TO REPROCESS ALL OF THE MATERIAL HERE BUT SINCE THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR IS SMALL IN THE UK, THE MATERIALS GO TO CHINA AND INDONESIA. IT SHOULD ALSO BE BORNE IN MIND THAT AS THESE COUNTRIES REPRESENT THE MANUFACTURING HUBS OF THE WORLD THEY ARE IMPORTING MANY PRODUCTS INTO THE UK, MAINLY ON CONTAINER SHIPS. AS THE UK IS NOT EXPORTING A CORRESPONDING MASS OF GOODS BACK TO THESE COUNTRIES MANY OF THE CONTAINER SHIPS TRANSPORTING THE RECYCLABLES WOULD BE RETURNING EASTWARDS EMPTY OTHERWISE. Also there'll need to be several hundred giant waste incinerating plants around the UK. ER, HERE’S A GREAT ARGUMENT FOR RECYCLING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I’D RATHER NOT POLLUTE OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY EITHER BY BURYING MORE WASTE IN IT OR BY BURNING OUR RUBBISH. Won't put it in the ground? So, chuck it into the air instead! Fly-tipping is also made more attractive to the criminally inclined! FLY TIPPING IS ALMOST ALWAYS A MORE ATTRACTIVE OPTION FOR THE CRIMINALLY INCLINED. THEY CAN DUMP WASTE CLOSE TO WHERE IT’S GENERATED AND WITHOUT HAVING TO POSSES A WASTE DISPOSAL LICENCE. THE POTENTIAL BAD BEHAVIOUR OF A CRIMINAL MINORITY SHOULD NOT DISSUADE THE PURSUIT OF AN ADMIRABLE OBJECTIVE HOWEVER.
Shhush! Don't mention the EU! Yet it'll come as no surprise to a long suffering public that the EU is at the back of this recycling disaster with directives to phase out landfill altogether - simply because one or two smaller EU states don't have space. ER, NO. IT IS NOT SIMPLY THAT. IT IS BECAUSE, AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, IT HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED THAT LANDFILL IS NOT A VIABLE LONG TERM OPTION FOR WASTE DISPOSAL.
Remember this as your council tax soars year on year, FAILURE TO RECYCLE EFFECTIVELY WILL MEAN THAT MORE WASTE WILL NEED TO BE LANDFILLED WHICH IS INCREASINGLY EXPENSIVE. IT COULD ALSO MEAN THAT TAMWORTH AND/OR THE UK AS A WHOLE WILL FAIL TO MEET THEIR RECYCLING TARGETS WHICH WILL MEAN THAT FINES WILL HAVE TO BE PAID. INCREASED LANDFILL TAX AND FINES FOR MISSING TARGETS WILL HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON COUNCIL TAX. or maggots infest your bin, WHICH IS A MUCH REPORTED, RARE OCCURRENCE WHICH IS EASILY AVOIDABLE BY WRAPPING ANY PUTRESCIBLE WASTE IN A PLASTIC BAG OR BY USING A COMPOST BIN OR WORMERY or your bin is left unemptied as punishment for not recycling properly. SIMPLE MESSAGE: FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AND RECYCLE PROPERLY Don't blame the bin men. Blame those WHO? who try to con us into accepting it's "for the environment" IT IS!. Tell them it's a load of rubbish! IT’S NOT A LOAD OF RUBBISH. AS I SAID IN MY PREVIOUS POST, JUST GET ON WITH IT.
I FIND IT RATHER DISGUSTING THAT YOU USE SOMETHING AS ADMIRABLE AND UNQUESTIONABLY BENEFICIAL TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS FOR POTENTIAL POLITICAL GAIN. IT’S AN EASY TARGET AS IT REQUIRES THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO PUT A LITTLE BIT OF EFFORT IN TO MAKE IT WORK. WITH YOUR LETTER YOU’RE SIMPLY APPEALING TO THE LAZIER ASPECT OF HUMAN NATURE AND I THINK THAT’S A CHEAP AND LAZY APPROACH TO POLITICS.
I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SOME OF YOUR OWN PROPOSALS TO DEALING WITH OUR HUGE WASTE PROBLEM. FROM YOUR LETTER IT WOULD APPEAR THAT YOU ADVOCATE THE ‘HEAD IN THE SAND’ APPROACH BY CHANGING NOTHING AND BLUNDERING BLINDLY AHEAD.
Jamie on 02 March 2006 at 17:38
Hi John and Chris, I was wondering if you had any comments on my last posting or whether you still subscribe to the opinion that 'Recycling is a load of rubbish?'
Cllr Chris Cooke on 03 March 2006 at 10:24
I hope this gets through because I've had several attempts to date and the technology seems to be fighting me! First I know, Jamie, you've seen this article from Prof Stott below - because I sent it to you off-line - but others should also see it. Below that I also answer your "Capitals" points - (sure seems like you are shouting! :-)
-------Prof Stott - starts---------------
This 2004 essay by Prof Philip Stott may be of interest:
If you live in North London, the unexpected knock at the door and the little black box could soon be imminent symbols that Big Brother is watching your every move. Drop that wine bottle, or the old Yellow Pages into your wheelie bin, and the waste police - sorry, 'recycling assistants' - will be at your door to rummage through your box, first to warn, then to issue notices, and finally to fine (tax) you 1,000 pounds. They are out to make you feel good while taking your cash. The authoritarian puritans are at the garden gate and they mean business. It sure is grim up North London. But don't scoff - it could be Bolton or Banff next.
Yet, much recycling is sheer ideological rubbish, a monumental waste of effort. And this is not just the view of free market economists who see such socialised systems of residual management (rubbish collection to you and me) as market distortions. Valfrid Paulsson, Green guru and former director-general of Sweden's environmental protection agency, and Soren Norrby, former campaign manager for 'Keep Sweden Tidy', both argue that collecting sorted household garbage is a mistake. They observe that "protection of the environment can mean economic sacrifices, but to maintain the credibility of environmental politics the environmental gains must be worth the sacrifice." Quite.
Used bottles and glass cost twice as much as the raw materials, while recycling plastics is not only uneconomic, especially when oil prices are low, but often impossible, plastics coming in many different chemical guises. Even paper recycling uses energy and chemicals, with a strict limit on the number of times fibres can be recycled.
This is thus a highly dubious tax on our time, not to mention on our pockets. It carries high opportunity costs for families. We carry out the unpaid work of sorting, and initially cleaning, material, some of which, e.g. junk mail, we never wanted. You will notice that the policy places the cost and effort on our shoulders, the unwitting consumer, who already forks out income tax, vat, council tax, and a wide range of other tax-fines and duties. What is more, from now on, if we get it wrong, we will be punished. We don't ask for the Yellow Pages to be pushed through our door in a plastic bag. We don't want all that packaging at the supermarket. And why should we spend ages trying to work out how to recycle batteries and water filters when the manufacturers don't bother to inform us? Above all, the impact nationally of domestic waste - our waste - is minuscule relative to that from other sources.
UK waste amounts to over 400 million tonnes per year, 93% of which comes from agriculture, industry, commerce, construction, dredging, and mining. Only 28 million tonnes derives from households, and only a small proportion of this has a market for the recycled product. How many of us religiously wash out that green wine bottle and place it in the box; or worse, travel up to ten miles by car to our nearest recycling centre, with all the environmental downsides associated with such short journeys, to find that the green holes are full to overflowing with sticky, half-smashed bottles. Even mo re gallingly, did you know that the UK has a green glass mountain? Despite trying to use this in road building, some 80,000 tonnes of crushed green cullet has to be exported to places like South America to avoid being dumped - great news for the 'global warming' faithful.
So what should we do about the puritanical waste police and their 'command-and-control' EU recycling targets? First, you should find out precisely what happens to all the so-called recyclable material, from aluminium to zinc. Secondly, ask for a detailed costing, including hidden savings on landfill tax, subsidies, your fines, and true collection costs. You will discover that these can top 17 pounds per household. Seek comparative costs over time for incineration and combined waste-and-power schemes. Build in the costs for employees. One Scandinavian study shows that recycling schemes may cause respirator y tract problems in refuse operatives. Moreover, does recycling replace all the jobs involved in virgin production, especially in less-developed countries? And then, why are we doing the work and paying the tax while nobody addresses the fundamental question: "Who is responsible for waste production?" Finally, ask the basic questions. Does this particular material require recycling? Is there a market for the product? Who says landfill is bad? And why don't bottles go back to manufacturers anymore?
It's time to dump the ideological rubbish and to put punitive, moralistic schemes back in the Green sack.
----------Prof Stott - ends --------
(from Cllr Chris Cooke - continued)
Now I'll try and answer some of your specific points. I'll try it in number order - as we go down.
1. Of course it's authoritarian to have those policies. There are so many caveats and anomalies (ie bin full of awkward shaped lightweight material? Disadvantaged person unable to break up and push down waste? Abnormal week’s waste? Missed last collection?). Sensible rules? What is this "reason" you talk of? There's nothing reasonable in these rules - purely an attempt by the authorities to suppress waste collection of which a sizable percentage is going to end up - guess where!! I've had some thrown in my back garden - anybody pushed any in or around yours yet?
2. How can you claim that a vast number of processes umbrellered under the term "recycling" are always preferable to landfill? Chemical and energy processes in "reclaiming" paper and glass for instance - one bio-degradable and the other a natural earth product that does no harm at all - is much higher than normal production methods. Anyway legislation should be around "reduce", "repair" and "reuse" before even considering whether to recycle or landfill. And recycled products are very limited in application. Anyway haven't you noticed that since paper has ben more and more recycled the world is losing "recyclible" forests - the ones grown to produce paper and softwoods production. Isn't it strange that something designed to "protect" our forests is actually making us lose them (sounds like an EU fisheries "protection" policy!!!).
3. You said it! "The cynical might suggest it is an additional way of getting more money" - So just call me cynical!!!
4. The only "high cost" of landfill is what the government charges! Otherwise landfill is a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with waste that cannot otherwise be reduced, reused or repaired - and - under some conditions recycled.
5. It is NOT illegal to export waste. You just need a licence. Which I'm sure the Government will give you providing you tidy up one or two sensibilities and pay them loads more money! The fact remains it is cheaper to landfill abroad than to recycle here. There is an unreported recycled waste mountain building up - as use and demand for recycled products cannot match supply. There are contracts in place right now but soon the prices will sky-rocket as more and more councils will be trying to offload their waste onto a supersaturated market.
6. See 5 above. They can't get rid of the waste! They'll have to end up burning it. They will build those several hundred giant incinerators. Perhaps one in your back yard?
7. Sure it's the criminally inclined that are the most prolific fly-tippers. But that doesn't mean you should tempt everybody else by draconian rubbish collection policies into following suit! You see, its an inevitable result of the deliberate suppressing (not reducing!) of waste collection.
8. "It has been identified that landfill is not a viable option" ER - could you point me to who said that? And what their report says? And where the facts and figures used are? Nobodies "identified" anything! This is pure political ideology - complete with the usual profiteering and empire building!
9. "Targets"? "Taxes"? Exactly. Nothing to do with commonsense. Just politically motivated "targets" and punitive "taxes". And what fiddles do you think lie around the production of these "targets" from every council? Much the same as fiddles around the crime and education "targets" and just about every other government statistical regime is the obvious answer.
10. "Who" tries to con us? Who do you think? Those who take our money off us!
11. Jamie. I may have been a lone voice on Tamworth Council for a long time - but now they are admitting their scheme at least needs a major overhaul - only they can't afford it - more in line with my comments. They have to work within Government rules of course - and I don't blame them for that. But I have come under very heavy political attack for my views here - no political gain - and no "cheap" or "easy" target for me. In fact it's damn hard work! I am not appealing to people's laziness - I'm trying to educate and appeal to commonsense.
You may want to answer this but I think it's about debated out now. You'd just continue to berating me for not caring about the environment - and I'd continue to say that recycling is not the panacea of all evils for the environment that you seem to think it is. A debate has to end somewhere - so I leave it now up to the readers to decide.
Jamie on 17 March 2006 at 14:11
Yup, this technology does appear to creek by at times. Anyway, I've pasted in the reply that I sent you when you sent me that rather piece by Prof Stott.
For anybody that's interested he's currently a the top of Rising Tide's (a UK campaign against climate change) 'Hall of Shame'.
I will respond to your last bunch of inaccuracies and half truths when time allows. Technology notwithstanding of course :o)
I am aware of Professor Philip Stott and I have to say that I have little time for his views. He is something of a one man soundbox and a quick google search will reveal that his views are far from widely held. Whilst this on its own is no bad thing, in the context of science he appears to preach one thing when most of the rest of the scientific community agree on the opposite. Even in the absence of general agreement, where most other scientists say ‘hold on, be careful, we don’t know what this ill mean/do’, Professor Philip Stott appears to advocate just blundering ahead. He makes organisations that are doing questionable things feel good about themselves and in this instance he seems to be making individuals who are reluctant to do good (albeit slightly difficult) things feel better about themselves.
I agree wholeheartedly with your note on letters to local papers. However, what I had more of an issue with is that the facts or situation as presented in your letter are/is simply wrong.
And yes, I also agree with your comments about sensibly managed forests and (ironically considering my comments above) much of what Prof Philip Stott says on the practicalities of recycling and the fact that the bulk of responsibility should lie with producers and retailers. These are complaints about the reasons we’ve ended up in the state we’re in. I agree that adequate and more forceful action needs to be taken by government, industry, business etc and I would say that this is more important and pressing than what us householders do with the 7% of waste that we contribute from home. However, these aren’t arguments against recycling. They’re excuses and childish excuses at that (‘I won’t do that if he/she/they don’t have to do that’).
Full reponse to numbered point to follow in due course.
(note - no “full response” from Jamie to date 04/06/06 - perhaps the technology defeated young him at last? )
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