Monday, February 25, 2008

Carbon Footprints

A pleasantly satisfying task at lunchtime today - attending the opening of the newly restored Victorian Winter Garden on Preston Hall. As ward councillors last year John and I had written letters in support of the Lottery application, so it was good to see the end result. The photos show David Bellamy who performed the opening, and John & Alan admiring the result of all the efforts.
Environment Select committee heard almost the final pieces of evidence today on the subject of rubbish. The consultant employed to look into the ecological impact of how we deal with our rubbish came to report on the calculations of carbon emissions for different scenarios. The results were very interesting, showing that the carbon cost of transporting materials is a very very small part of the overall carbon cost of their life-cycle. The gut reaction of most people that sending lots of vehicles around collecting recycling material is more costly to the environment than putting the material into the energy from waste plant proved to be false. If materials like plastic bottles, made from oil, can be recycled efficiently into more high grade plastic bottles then it's worth going round and collecting them. Similarly with glass and metals. So those sceptics who think recycling is just another odd idea will have to rethink.
The last evidence will be received next week when the analysis of almost 3000 questionnaires is completed and we'll know what the general public in Stockton think. Then it's up to the committee to make recommendations to cabinet. And they won't be easy to agree - just watch this space.

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