Cautious welcome to new plans to tackle waste
A Midlands green energy expert has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s latest plans for tackling waste, which he said would have a big impact on householders.
Ron Fox of Noreus Ltd was commenting on Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s strategy to help combat climate change, safeguard resources and reduce the flow of plastic into the oceans.
The main proposals, which are not finalised as many issues are under consultation, are:
- Introduce labelling on packaging so consumers know what they can recycle.
- Tackle the postcode lottery under which different materials are recyclable in different areas.
- Double the 5p fee for plastic carrier bags in England to 10p and extend this to all shops.
- Make manufacturers foot the cost of disposing of items they produce, such as drinks cartons, electrical goods and cars.
- Introduce a deposit on drinks containers, including coffee cups which consumers will have to pay. But they will get their deposit back when recycled.
- Encourage councils to provide homes with separate collections for food waste as rotting waste is a major source of greenhouse gases that are over-heating the planet.
- Tell councils to scrap charges for disposing garden waste because if it ends up in landfill it produces methane that increases our carbon footprint.
- Encourage manufacturers to design products that last longer and increase the levels of repair and re-use.
- Crack down on fly tipping by introducing electronic tracking of waste shipments.
- Tell schools in England to eliminate unnecessary plastic and to replace plastic straws, bottles and food packaging with sustainable alternatives by 2022.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.”
But Ron said: “There are some very good ideas in these proposals, but many of them are dependent on voluntary agreements.”
He said one example was encouraging residents to have a caddy for food waste, but they would not be forced to have one. At present only around 35% of households in England are obliged to put food waste in a caddy compared to 56% in Scotland and 100% in Wales. Also, this might mean the main rubbish bin being emptied less often.
But he said there could be many benefits for householders, such as buying goods that last longer and which could be repaired more easily.
However, they would have to be careful whom they employed to get rid of an unwanted mattress or an old fridge as it would be electronically tagged to ensure it wasn’t dumped.
Ron said he was also concerned about the time taken to implement some of these changes such as the plastic bottle deposit return scheme promised in 2018 which won’t now be launched until 2023.
“With scientists warning we have just 12 years to tackle climate change, we need to speed up these changes,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd.