Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Taking the pledge for Recycle Week

This week I've taken the pledge - well, a pledge, anyway: to recycle all the piles of old newspapers and magazines littering my flat - or else I won't allow myself to buy any more.

Since I'm such a boring news junkie that's going to be almost impossible: I'd better hope I stick to it (hey, even with The Tories running things it's easier to recycle paper in Brighton than run a marathon around it, and I'm determined to do that too).

The pledge is in aid of Recycle Week.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, seeks to draw attention to the sea of waste in which we're drowning, promote recycling and waste reduction.

This year the week's theme is 'let's waste less...', "encouraging all of us to try something new in an effort to go greener and cut back on the waste we all produce".

Of course the best way to reduce the amount of rubbish we throw away is to cut down on the amount of stuff we buy in the first place - but unless we're to be buried under trash or choked by new waste incinerators we'll need to recycle what's left.

The Government has set targets to make sure we do recycle about half of what we throw away.

That's pretty poor: I think we should be aiming for a zero waste society like those in parts of Canada and Australia.

But meanwhile (until we get that Green party government!) the council here in Brighton and Hove doesn't even hope to reach even this paltry target.

The council is set to adopt a new Waste Mangement Strategy in the coming weeks, and early drafts suggest our long-term recycling targets will be lower than the national average or Government target.

I think that's not good enough. We should be exceeding these targets - setting an example on how to cut waste, in line with the green aspirations of so many living here.

It could start with introducing food scraps and garden refuse collections, improving recycling collection at communal bins sites.

Even more easily, the council should recycle all waste from our parks, beaches and town centre locations, especially at and after events - and scrap the dubious contract with Veolia to burn a steady stream of Brighton's waste at the Newhaven incinerator for the next 30 years.

Then perhaps the council could say it had made a Recycle Week pledge of its own.

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