In October each year residents of Tübingen in Germany take part in an unusual race. Anyone with a rubber duck can take part, and most years over 7,000 are released onto the river Neckar. The river banks are lined by cheering spectators as the yellow flotilla makes its stately progress along the 45 minute journey through the town, and €10,000 of prizes are up for grabs.
Whilst one might have some concerns about the potential for stray ducks to end up as marine litter, it appears that a good deal of effort is made to retrieve the plastic poultry once they cross the finish line. At Isonomia, too, we’re no strangers to the idea of releasing things into the wide world and seeing how far they float, and October saw a number of our articles fairly racing along the rapids in search of glory.
Taking to blogging like a duck to water was Roy Hunt, whose first article for Isonomia suggested nineteen ways in which the risk of waste crime could be cut. Roy writes with the experience of three years battling the practices of the operator of a landfill site on the edge of his village. His mix of personal insight and practical proposals brought comments and retweets from the great and the good of waste, and made this Isonomia’s most read article of the month.
Never one to duck a challenge, Peter Jones gave us two articles to bookend last month, and by this stratagem was October’s most read author. His opening salvo was a discussion of some of the tricky issues that are starting to emerge as councils try to apply the Waste Regulations necessity and TEEP tests to their services; while with his second barrel he examined the grounds for the EFRA Committee’s concerns about the cost of separate food waste collections, expressed in its recent report on waste management in England.
Dominic Hogg was quick off the mark when Defra announced that its PFI credit support for the proposed incinerator at New Barnfield, Hertfordshire was a dead duck. His welcome return to Isonomia was a dissection of the rationale for PFI credits being used to support energy from waste projects.
Despite the far from supportive research, DCLG has introduced a £5m fund to support councils to implement recycling reward schemes. Clare Pitts-Tucker, who has written for us before on the weakness of the evidence based for recycling reward schemes, came back with a new article on whether this policy is a lame duck, but concluded that it could be made to fly if local authorities structure their proposals in the right way.
We like to have articles that migrate long distances to reach us, and this month brought us two autumn visitors. From the east came an update on waste policy in Poland from Bernadeta Gottel, who explained how recent changes have put recycling on a steep upward curve, albeit from a low base. The new from North Africa was less positive – Catherine Hansen recounted the ongoing health and environmental problems caused by the use of scrap tyres as cheap fuel for ceramic kilns that is endemic across the area.
Thanks to the efforts of our many authors, page views were up as a whole, and we were able to offer a breadth and depth of articles that few can rival. That’s reflected in the positive comments we continue to receive, both on the site and on LinkedIn, and our thanks go to all those who take the time to share their thoughts. Offering a platform for a variety of opinions and generating debate is what we’re all about, so if anything you’ve read here has tweaked your bill or got you down, please do tell us, whether by leaving a comment or with an article of your own. We try to provide an informed but accessible viewpoint on a wide range of environment issues, so whether you want to talk turbines or labour over landfill, please do get in touch.
It’s easy to shift from visitor to commentator to author, and we’re always glad to hear from you. Whether you’re from Casablanca or Castleford, Aberdeen or Zagreb, with your help we will create a space where thoughts on topics from across the environment sector can be expressed and explored, enabling communication and cross fertilisation of ideas.
What’s floating down the stream this November? We expect to bring you a bit of history on the origins of the recycling logo from Steve Watson, and Hulda Espolin Norstein will discuss what life outside the EU would mean for UK environmental laws. Roy Hunt may also be returning with a look at whether landfill sites make enough financial provision to ensure they can be managed safely once they close.
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