March 19th, 2014

Incineration: let’s get fiscal

619px-Smokestacks_3958

by Dominic Hogg

 

If you are serious about encouraging waste prevention, eco-design, re-use, remanufacture and high recycling rates, then it helps if you stop people throwing stuff away for peanuts. A high price on residual waste management is not a panacea; and it isn’t impossible to achieve good results in its absence. However, the decline in recycling rates in Germany as incinerator gate fees have bombed is testament to the fact that, whatever other regulations you have in place, at some point the economic imperative begins to bite: make chucking stuff away cheap, and it will kill off better alternatives.

Read more on Incineration: let’s get fiscal…


August 30th, 2013

Playing chicken with the climate: why environmentalists should go veggie

Bypass Burger

by Francis Vergunst

 

You’ve heard it from the Greens, you’ve heard it from your friends, you’ve probably even heard it from your grandma… and now you’re hearing it from the government too. What’s the big deal? Do we really need to eat less meat – or none at all? I would argue that becoming vegetarian could be the most effective action you take against climate change. Consider the following.

Read more on Playing chicken with the climate: why environmentalists should go veggie…


August 2nd, 2013

Malta-ed perceptions

Malta bring site_small

by Adrian Gibbs

 

When visiting an old city with a rich and troubled past it is hard not to get swept up in the grand, complex and often frightening history that has shaped the landscape, culture and administration. Fortunately, most guidebooks include an abridged history to introduce the grand names and great episodes of the past. It is, however, less easy to find a chronicle of a country’s waste management systems. This is perhaps a shame, as the same forces of self-interest, random chance, ‘good ideas at the time’ and inertia can surely be seen at play in the establishment of institutional waste systems as in the formation of cultural, political and architectural norms.

Read more on Malta-ed perceptions…


March 27th, 2013

A tale of two escalators

Westminster Escalator

by Peter Jones

 

The Budget last week offered little to excite the environmentally minded, as George Osborne produced no new green measures from his battered red box. One of the main talking points in the waste sector has been the absence of any clarification of what will happen to landfill tax after it reaches £80 in 2014/15. The Green Alliance advocates further increases, but the Environmental Services Association and various local authority representatives are looking for the escalator to stop. At the same time, the planned fuel escalator increase for September 2013 was cancelled.

Read more on A tale of two escalators…


March 4th, 2013

Incinerators in the dragons’ den

Sheffield Incinerator

by Mike Brown

 

Sometimes it takes a really clear expression of the fundamentals of a point of view to help you see what’s wrong with it. A couple of weekends ago, BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions came to the Gloucester Guildhall. One of the hot local topics is the county council’s incinerator plan, and a number of its opponents were in the audience, and a question was raised about whether it was “a blot on the landscape or a necessary step to securing an ecologically sustainable environment”.

Read more on Incinerators in the dragons’ den…


January 14th, 2013

A jumper’s journey

Clothes for Recycling

by Clare Pitts-Tucker

 

What happens to your unwanted clothes when you get rid of them? The question is particularly pressing at Christmas, when our powerful gift giving customs may leave us with unwearable, unreturnable, unwanted clothing: a hideous Christmas jumper, perhaps, destined to be worn only once; or some thick woollen socks (very much like marmite, you either love them or you hate them); or perhaps your new gloves will prompt you to get rid of that old pair with a hole in. At this time of year, clothing of all degrees of quality is destined for the bin.

Read more on A jumper’s journey…


November 14th, 2012

Curious numbers

by Phillip Ward

 

Local authority recycling figures for England for the year 2011/12 have just come out from Defra. The good news is that for the first time more material is being recycled or composted than is sent to landfill. The bad news is the confirmation of what we have suspected for a while; the rate of growth in recycling is stalling.

Read more on Curious numbers…