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WALES URGED TO ADOPT ZERO WASTE STRATEGY

Added: (Wed Jul 04 2001)

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SUE ESSEX, MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT LAUNCHES THE WALES WASTE STRATEGY CONSULTATION DOCUMENT AT NEWPORT WASTESAVERS AND AFTERWARDS AT THE HILTON HOTEL NEWPORT JULY 4TH 2001.



WALES SHOULD HAVE THE COURAGE TO ADOPT A ZERO WASTE STRATEGY AND CREATE JOBS – TURN WASTE FROM A PROBLEM TO AN OPPORTUNITY.

9,000 JOBS ACROSS WALES WITHIN FIVE YEARS.

The strategy document launched by Sue Essex today is undoubtedly a great step forward for Wales. It sets higher recycling targets than its English counterpart launched by Michael Meacher last May. Together with the 40 million announced two weeks ago to pay for this change to recycling it gives us a chance to move off the bottom of the recycling league in Europe.

However Cylch has expressed the view that the aim should be Zero Waste.

A moment’s thought about waste exposes the sheer stupidity of our negligence. We spend vast fortunes nurturing products to the point of sale and consumption only to bin them within minutes to be whisked away and returned toxically to the earth from whence most of them came. Over 80% of our national product is buried within a month of its manufacture. How much crazier can this be? Out of sight – out of mind and there’s the crux of it.

We beat ourselves up about the litter in our streets, the fly tipping in our countryside yet the whole mindset about waste is “get rid of it fast” – preferably somebody else get rid of it. The waste industry has dined out on this carelessness, it is their vested interest, they are experts at removal and burial, - the more the merrier.

The key to change is to change this mindset. To raise awareness that we create waste when we mix materials in one single bin or bag or skip. Kept separate all these materials become resources that can be re-used – it’s as simple as that.

Zero Waste is achieved in a series of single, careful acts by individuals wherever they are - at home, in the office, the field or the factory; at work or at play.

Adopting Zero Waste as an aim focuses the mind – it’s unequivocal – it helps that key educative process and changes the requirements of the collection system at a stroke and makes all things possible. The organic fraction of household waste alone comprises over 60% of the bin – composting this fraction for the benefit of our local soils will achieve the targets. Daventry achieved 49% within 9 months of starting a scheme that targeted organics for the first time.

The materials made available for re-use will challenge our creativity and our technical and entrepreneurial flair. Can we re-use them in Wales to create businesses and jobs? Experience elsewhere says we can.

The recycling industry in Germany is larger than steel and telecoms combined. Within five years Wales will create 9,000 jobs across the country, from clerks to managing directors, collectors to designers, if we have the sense to plan courageously, to invest strategically and the ambition to strive for ZERO WASTE.

The Draft document is out for consultation until September or maybe October. Cylch knows from NOP and other surveys that have been carried out that the general public wants to recycle but most don’t have the facility to do this easily. Welsh local authorities have been given the resources that could provide every household in Wales with the necessary kit to enable citizens to abolish waste by separation. Every household should receive a recycling collection service aimed at recovering quality materials. Is this a “waste” service, -- not really.

Our own community sector enterprises are eager to share knowledge and experience with the local authorities to help develop sensible programmes. We will soon have access to a specific fund of 3.5 million to develop community-based recycling and Cylch is working with the Welsh Local Government Association, Keep Wales Tidy and others to develop mutually beneficial partnerships to add this resource to the 40 million announced recently. Changes to the Landfill Tax regulations are expected to add yet more resource to this effort and every tonne of material not landfilled will save the local authority the cost of that disposal. (between 20 and 35 per tonne)

In short – there will be no room for the usual excuse of inadequate resources. The change will take place and we believe that ZERO WASTE should be the aim. Ask your council what their plans are.


NOTES TO EDITORS
Cylch is the Community Sector member of the Wales Waste Forum – a stakeholder group that helped advise the Waste Policy Support Unit on the writing of the consultative document.

Cylch is a membership organisation with charitable objectives (Charity Registration awaited) and was formed in 1998 to represent the members to the National Assembly for Wales, local government and other agencies. It has developed a network that shares good practice to further the aims of individual member organisations. Cylch believes that by enabling members to work in partnership with local authorities to deliver services around waste minimisation re-use and recycling it can help to develop a Best Value, sustainable solution to the problem represented by our current waste management system.

By asking the community to take responsibility for waste and their voluntary participation in creating the solution then the community should get the benefit as a reward for their free labour.

CONTACT
Mal Williams – National co-ordinator Tel 07971 199346
Cylch office 02920 647000

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