April 20th, 2018

Spending review: what waste management costs councils

by Peter Jones

 

Last month the National Audit Office (NAO) published an assessment of the financial sustainability of English local authorities. Some of the findings were pretty stark, with the NAO reporting that “spending on services has fallen by 19.2% in real terms” since 2010/11, with expenditure on areas other than social care falling by 32.6%. The NAO further stated that:

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February 16th, 2018

Institutional failure? Environmental health and monthly bin collections

by Peter Jones

 

Last week, the Daily Express ran a story warning of the dire consequences of the planned introduction of monthly residual waste collections in Conwy, North Wales. Reducing collection frequencies would lead to a variety of ills such as swarms of rats and flies, unpleasant odours and a surge in fly-tipping, the paper claimed.

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January 26th, 2018

Fly-tipping in the face of the evidence

by Peter Jones

 

The number of fly-tipping incidents recorded by councils in England has gone up every year since 2012/13.  In 2016/17, the total number of fly-tips exceeded a million for the first time since 2008/09. Around two-thirds of incidents are classed as involving household waste; the number of such cases has increased by around 41% since 2012/13 so it’s natural to ask what changes might underlie this dramatic rise.

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January 19th, 2018

Marking time: England’s 2016-17 recycling statistics

by Peter Jones, Emma Fletcher and Jade Kelly

 

Last month’s release of the latest local authority recycling statistics for England was an event that stirred little excitement. A small uptick in the household recycling rate was enough to equal the previous high water mark of 43.7%, but represented a sixth successive year of plateauing performance – hardly deserving of high marks when other parts of the UK are advancing so much faster.

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December 18th, 2017

Are some countries cheating on their recycling rate?

Global Recycling Map

by Rob Gillies and Peter Jones

 

Eunomia recently published the second issue of ‘Recycling – Who Really Leads the World?’, a study that tries to compare on an equal footing the countries that claim the highest recycling rates in the world. It explains why comparing reported recycling rates at face-value is potentially misleading; and by producing more comparable figures, shines a light on those countries that are setting a positive example for others to follow.

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December 1st, 2017

Myth takes: the bin police

by Peter Jones

 

Are local authorities unjustifiably snooping on householders’ bins? Are they carrying out CCTV surveillance of people’s compliance with local bin rules? And are they looking to impose fines of thousands of pounds on people who break them?

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August 4th, 2017

Myth takes: renewables consume more energy than they produce

by Peter Jones

 

I had a kitchen contractor over to quote for some work in my house. As he ran a company that specialised in using reclaimed wood, the conversation turned to green issues – and let’s just say he wasn’t averse to sharing his opinions. “Those wind turbines,” he grumbled, “they’re an eyesore and they’re not even carbon neutral.”

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