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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Time to take waste reduction seriously

One of the problems we face in trying to live more sustainably is that when managing waste we are starting too far down the hierarchy.

Effectively there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of stuff we send to landfill and conserve resources which would otherwise be diverted into cosmetic packaging. At the top of that hierarchy is the need to prevent the waste in the first place by finding other ways of doing things. Below that is minimisation, reuse, recycling, energy recovery and disposal.

Most government initiatives focus on getting people to recycle their waste, whilst the development of facilities to burn waste products to generate energy is also a popular option. I would suggest that a far more sustainable and useful role for Ministers would be in preventing and minimising the waste in the first place, especially when it comes to packaging.

As ever it takes the private sector to lead the way, with the very welcome initiative from Iceland in seeking to become the first major retailer to commit to eliminating plastic packaging for all its own brand products within five years to help end the "scourge" of plastic pollution.

As the Independent reports they plan to replace plastic with packaging that includes paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities.

Surely it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility for others to follow suit or for government to consolidate initiatives they are already considering on reducing plastic by legislating to force through a revolution of this sort.

I am positive that the hard-pressed householder would welcome assistance from Ministers in living sustainably, instead of having to bear the burden of recycling initiatives all by themselves.
Goves plant a tree project is a good idea. However it should be rapidly developed as these trees can not only help the environment but produce paper for paper bags cardboard packaging etc.The elimination of plastic. By developing paper products will increase green wheelie bin use and reduce black bin landfill waste. The 'tree waste' will be recycled, reduce landfill and therefore reduce Council costs.
Indeed if Council planted trees not only for flood prevention but paper production they could earn money.
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