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Herts Waste Partnership Meeting - The Circular Economy

Latest NewsPosted by Cathy Tue, July 28, 2015 20:58:57


Val of Wel/Hat Friends of the Earth and Herts WithOut Waste made a short presentation to the Waste Partnership. She spoke of the opportunity now provided to Hertfordshire by the rejection of the New Barnfield Planning Application. She stressed the importance of the Circular Economy, and the need to aim for very little waste needing disposal. She referred to the importance of re-use, as shown especially at the Harpenden household waste recycling centre, and the need for re-branding of the HWRCs to emphasise re-use. She spoke of how the circular economy respects the planet, and also creates jobs. To get the message across, Herts WoW and FoE have plans for a Herts Network, to complement the education work being done by the HWP.

At the meeting, WelHat councillor Helen Bromley again raised the need for costings before alternatives methods of waste management can be assessed. The reply was that there is a WRAP gate-fee document, but different projects using the same technology can have different costs.

Other issues raised were the possibility of the members of the Waste Partnership moving to a more unified system, and the need to share best practice about waste from flats. There was discussion of the increase in fly-tipping in some areas, which could be caused by reduction of hours at the HWRCs, or could be commercial waste. It was stressed that the HWRCs should not close before 6.00 p.m. Stevenage had held an annual Open Day about waste and recycling. 3 Rivers now has separate food waste collection, but has experienced some problems with wild-life getting at the plastic-type and colour of caddy they chose. Wel/Hat has “Cage Days” when a lorry collects large items that might otherwise be dumped. Wel/Hat recycling has now reached 51%.

Simon Aries (Officer of HCC) spoke about the New Barnfield decision. Veolia have 6 weeks to challenge. The Revised Project Plan submitted by Veolia could take 6 months to evaluate, but there will be an update to HCC panels in October, and a potential report to the HCC Waste Panel in March 2015. The RPP has to be similar to the New Barnfield plan, or it would be subject to legal challenge (by firms rejected in the original bidding process). Helen Bromley asked if the RPP involved the same site or something similar on a different site, but Simon Aries said he could not share this information now. Phil Brading (3 Rivers) asked about the possibility of Veolia appealing, and Simon A replied that any challenge must be on process, and the point on which Veolia’s previous challenge succeeded has now been answered by the Sec of State.

On HWRCs it was said that all sites do have re-use containers, but the best is at Harpenden. St Albans is to trial acceptance of commercial waste. A lot of van permits have been issued. A Letchworth survey showed some users going once or twice weekly.

Circular Economy presentation given by Nigel Mattravers, U.K. Head of Waste and Resource Management for WYG. He has worked extensively with the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). He stressed that waste can be a resource. A circular economy can lead to savings, and to reduction of greenhouse gasses. A new Triangle of waste management methods shows Design to Re-cover as best, followed by recycling. There is already some legislation, and retailers can put pressure on suppliers. The EU Directive, giving recycling targets, was withdrawn in July 2014, because Europe-wide targets are too difficult to implement. In August 2015 there is to be a document with more emphasis on materials re-use.

Important in the circular economy are recyclability in design, and simplified labelling of what is recyclable. In future the targets will be for each country, with probably a landfill ban, and a move from weight-based recycling targets to ones based on carbon metrics, because there will be less material for recycling if there is less waste produced. There is a role for Local Authorities in encouraging local re-processing of materials.

In answers to questions, Nigel Mattravers said that materials such as aluminium and textiles take a lot of carbon to produce. He said that organisations procuring products (e.g. paper) should specify they should be recyclable. A member of the HWP said that the circular economy won’t work if driven by economics, it needs regulation and incentives. The Chair, Richard Thake, also spoke of the need for controls, such as making non-recyclable packaging illegal.

The Herts Waste Partnership considered a draft response to the Consultation on the new EU document, to be submitted by Aug 20. Helen Bromley wanted more on prevention of waste.

On the Quarterly Update, there has been an upturn in the price for newsprint. Duncan Jones thinks that recycling across the HWP should reach 50% in 2015/16. Recycling has remained steady despite the economic upturn, when people buy more. There was discussion of 3-weekly collection of residual waste, with weekly food-collection.

Next HWP meeting is October.

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