Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

Today was the first evidence-gathering meeting of the Environment Select Committee review of Waste Management in the Borough. We had Dr Andrew Craig, a local expert who's been involved in formulating strategy at Tees Valley level and in the North East as well as having some input into national thinking on the subject. I think that everyone in the room learned something from the session and we had lots of our questions answered.
One question to which the answer was less than satisfactory was whether there are plans to make it easy for people to find out which products contain recycled material and which don't so that we can make informed choices when shopping. Toilet rolls are easy - clearly labelled so that we can make our choice. In fact, it seems to me that the paper industry is ahead of everyone on that - we can buy all sorts of paper products that are clearly labelled. But what about that jar of jam? Is the jar 100% recycled glass or 50% or zero? There's nothing on the label to tell us. Apparently there are no plans to make this common practice, and no plans on the part of government to help us at all. We have to do our own research and that is jolly difficult.
On the other side of the Atlantic, however, in California there's a whole website devoted to the subject of reducing waste, reusing it and recycling it including buying recycled products. There are links to companies producing jewellery from circuit boards, clothing from all manner of recycled materials, toys, furniture, building materials and many more. If a state of the USA can make that kind of effort can someone explain why the British government can't? (Rhetorical question - it's too near Christmas for philosophical essays)
We also approved the consultation programme for the review so watch out for questionnaires and opportunities to comment in the New Year.
In the New Year a small group will take on the job of looking into Vermin control in the Borough because we're suffering from a much increased rat population compared to 10 years ago and need to find ways to deal with it. This committee gets all the interesting jobs!
Nationally, I was pleased to see that the new party leader was getting generally positive comment in the press. Long may it continue.

No comments: