February 27th, 2015

Solving a sticky litter problem

Ruth_Roland-1919_Adams_Gum

by Emma How

 

My husband vividly recalls being made to write out ‘the mastication of glutinous substances is obnoxious’ 100 times on the blackboard when caught chewing in class. Although symbolising the anti-social mindlessness of adolescence for many a schoolmaster, the problems associated with chewing gum are, regrettably, not confined to the Just William classrooms of yesteryear.

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January 23rd, 2015

Clean streets, dirty conscience?

Grubbers

by Ian Doyle

 

Ask residents what’s important to them in their local environment and clean streets will always be one of the first things they mention. Litter, in all its unpleasant forms, has the power to dramatically affect perceptions of environmental quality and reduce residents’ pride of place, and there is evidence that it has detrimental effects in terms of property values, mental health, and crime. Therefore, it’s not surprising that clean streets are given high value.

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January 20th, 2015

The outsource of it all

Manchester City Hall

by Phillip Ward

 

I once talked a Government Minister out of legislating for charging for domestic refuse disposal. It was 26 years ago and, in my defence, I knew nothing of waste policy, nor was recycling of much interest to most people at that time. My objections were not therefore based on waste considerations but on the fact that the Minister concerned wanted to add the provisions to the Parliamentary Bill I was managing. Since that was dealing with the introduction of the Poll Tax, my advice was that the Bill was controversial enough without opening up a whole new front. I do sometimes wonder whether, with the advantage of hindsight, I should have simply said “Yes, Minister”.

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January 16th, 2015

Mutual benefit: austerity, waste partnerships and Teckal

Marriage de la vierge

by Wayne Lewis

 

The age of public sector austerity ushered in by the 2008 financial crisis has fallen with particular severity on local government. The Local Government Association (LGA) has calculated that the latest Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 18th December 2014 represents an 8.8% cut to local government budgets from April 2015. This brings to 40% the total reduction in core government funding since 2010 – then typically around two thirds of a council’s budget. Yet the deficit remains obstinately large and whatever the complexion of central government after May’s general election it’s likely that we’ll see councils’ spending power continue to shrink.

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October 31st, 2014

Is separate food waste collection expensive?

Caddy stack

by Peter Jones

 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report on Waste management in England has been big news in waste this month, and by virtue of being a bit of a mixed bag most commentators have been able to find in it something to praise. The Committee had the unenviable job of trying to sift conflicting evidence from numerous interested parties, and perhaps it was inevitable that some of their recommendations would be in tension.

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October 21st, 2014

Risk and reward: is it worth bidding for DCLG’s Recycling Reward Scheme?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

by Clare Pitts-Tucker

 

Eric Pickles is making something of a habit of conjuring up pots of money to promote his pet policy proposals. Undeterred by the experience of the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme (WCSS), which proved quite an expensive way to persuade one authority to revert to weekly collections, he has now established a £5m Recycling Reward Scheme (RRS) fund that gives councils the chance to bid for resources to set up local recycling incentive schemes.

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October 17th, 2014

Is the waste PFI credit crunch justified?

Residual Graph

by Dominic Hogg

 

I’ve just made it back to the office following a thoroughly enjoyable LARAC conference. As well as staying up way too late on Wednesday night after a scrumptious dinner, I sat on a panel earlier in the same day which was asked a question regarding whether the withdrawal of PFI credits from various local authority waste projects was justified.

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