A personal response by David Teasdale to the presentation by Carl Beer at the Green Party meeting on 24th October
I expected Mr. Beer’s presentation to be drily factual on attempts by his organisation, Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority to deal with increasing amounts of rubbish, particularly plastic. It did give the facts, some of them stunning. Two full train loads of waste leave Merseyside everyday to taken to Teeside to be burnt in our own facility there (450,000 tonnes/yr). As Carl said, a very efficient operation compared to that of many municipalities, but a huge source of carbon emissions, along with other pollutants. Food waste makes up 109,000 tonnes annually of this waste, one third of which is recorded as avoidable food waste. Of the plastics that I carefully put in my recycling bin, plastic bottles are good to recycle but many items like yogurt pots and the black plastic trays that supermarkets use for vegetables can technically be recycled but this isn’t financially viable at the present time as there is no end-market for the recycled plastic.
From these facts Mr. Beer put together a presentation that was inspiring, a call to action. There is a clear need for Greens to thoroughly understand what is happening with waste, to understand the options we have, and to campaign accordingly. The proposed systems under which suppliers are taxed if they use non-recyclable materials need to come in now, not after years of consultation. How can we make avoiding food waste a principle that each of us, across the city, act on? Above all how do we move to a circular economy where the minimum requirement is to use only items that can be recycled, and the ideal is to move items through some low energy refurbishment and distribute them to people who need those items. The latter process will create many skilled, and semi-skilled jobs, as well as ending “waste” as a concept.
You can find out more about the Waste and Recycling Authority at http://www.merseysidewda.gov.uk/ . There is a Merseyside Linkedin group committed to developing the circular economy at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8685207/.