Tag Archives: recycling

Building on our green credentials

We are the party who introduced the 5p charge for plastic bags and set up the Green Investment Bank. We led the way on investment in renewables and in green technologies. So what’s next?

Party members would have received a recent newsletter with a link to the party’s vision on how we can save our seas from plastic pollution.

We are calling for the government to commit to a Plastic-Free Charter.

We need to tackle our throw-away culture by providing incentives to reduce, reuse and recycle.

I couldn’t agree more.

Aberporth, in West Wales,

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5p Cup Charge Might Just Happen

Lib Dems led the way with hugely successful plastic bag charge, leading to a reduction of over 85% in plastic bags, and followed last year with policy to introduce a small charge on disposable coffee cups.

The plans were rejected by government last year, but there appears to have been a U-turn.

Yesterday, Environment Minister Therese Coffey told the environmental audit committee that the government will consider introducing a coffee cup charge to tackle the 2.5 billion disposable cups thrown away each year.

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron commented

It is good to see

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Opinion: MeRRRy Christmas!

Like many of us, I’ll be braving the supermarket aisles over the next few days, ready to feed visiting family. This year, however, in more straitened financial circumstances (aren’t we all?), I’m very aware of how much food I’ve wasted over Christmases past, and determined not to make that mistake again.

Research by environmental organisation WRAP shows that each year we throw away one third (6.7 million tonnes) of the food we buy, over a quarter of that still in its packaging. The average person will have thrown away their own weight in food between January and December. And …

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

Eric Pickles wins Talking Rubbish prize

A few weeks ago, the Voice highlighted that three Tory ministers — Eric Pickles, Carloline Spelman and Bob Neill — were up for a very special gong: the Friends of the Earth Talking Rubbish Award to help debunk the myths peddled by right-wing newspapers and some Tory ministers who ‘like to trash recycling’.

Well, after 1,000 online votes were cast, there is now a winner: yes, that jolly, red-faced Communities secretary Mr Pickles is the victor for peddling the myth that recycling means everyone is terrified of the ‘bin police’. “The iron fist of the municipal state has come down on people for the most minor of bin breaches,” he spluttered.

Announcing Mr Pickles’ huge win, Friends of the Earth’s waste campaigner Julian Kirby commented:

“Government Ministers have been keen to trash recycling when in reality it’s more popular and successful than ever. Eric Pickles in particular has been at war with councils when he should be supporting them to cut the amount we needlessly throw away. David Cameron needs to take control of his hysterical, squabbling Ministers and set a goal to halve the nation’s black bag waste by 2020.”

You can find out more about the Friends’ Talking half as much rubbish campaign here.

In the meantime, to celebrate his award let’s take the opportunity once again to re-live one of Mr Pickles’ best-loved TV appearances:

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Which Tory minister do you think is Talking Rubbish most? Spelman, Pickles or Neill?

Friends of the Earth is inviting the public to help decide the winner of its Talking Rubbish Award to help debunk the myths peddled by right-wing newspapers and some Tory ministers who ‘like to trash recycling’. The three nominees are as follows:

    The myth: Recycling means everyone is terrified of the ‘bin police’
    “The iron fist of the municipal state has come down on people for the most minor of bin breaches.” Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

    The reality:
    Mr Pickles – and some noisy media commentators – give the impression that people live in fear of the ‘bin police’. In reality, studies show

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Coalition to rule out ‘pay as you throw’ waste charge – but why do they think it’s their job?

The Guardian reports:

Ministers are expected to announce that they are scrapping Labour plans to introduce “pay as you throw” rubbish schemes. Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, and Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will confirm that they will end schemes in which people are charged for household waste collections or for producing too much rubbish.

In one sense this is a bit of a non-story. Labour didn’t, despite the Guardian’s misleading report, plan to introduce ‘pay as you throw’ rubbish schemes – what they did was enable councils to pilot such schemes if they wished. Unsurprisingly, not least given the furore …

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Daily View 2×2: 18 March 2010

How to sign "Thank you" in BSLOf all the days in history I’ve had to write about so far, March 18th seems about the dullest. Nothing particularly interesting has ever happened today, so that’s a bit of a challenge for the day just leaving the starters blocks.

About the best the wikipedia page for today can offer up is that John Updike was born today and the Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced to transportation. Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube was disconnected and BSL was first recognised as an official British language.

2 Big Stories

Ashcroft’s lawyers silence ‘Panorama’

The Independent reports:

The BBC has shelved a Panorama documentary about the business affairs of the Tory billionaire Lord Ashcroft, because of a threat of legal action.

The Corporation has received what one insider described as “several very heavy letters” from Lord Ashcroft’s lawyers. There is now little or no prospect of the investigation being broadcast before the general election, if it goes out at all.

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Swinson slams eggs-ess packaging (geddit?)

As you prepare to devour your innocent-looking Easter eggs this holiday weekend, bear in mind this piece of research by Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson: Easter eggs only take up 40% of their packaging, and remain one of the most wasteful products on supermarket shelves. You can read the BBC news report detailing Jo’s investigations HERE.

Jo comments:

While it is encouraging that the amount of packaging used for Easter eggs has gone down, they remain one of the most excessively packaged and wasteful products available. On average the Easter eggs still take up only 40% of their packaging, so there

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Plastic bags: forget the ad campaign, just tax them

Today’s Mirror reports on the Government’s latest initiative to cut down on pastic bag use – an advertising campaign:

The average shopper uses 13,000 plastic bags in their lifetime, according to a study. Research by the Department of Environment said a person gets through 160 new carrier bags each year.

Last year 9.9 billion of them were handed out in the UK. … The numbers were released to mark a new advertising campaign to urge people to re-use bags. But Lib Dem Tim Farron branded it “gimmickry” and said the Government should just tax the bags..

I’m with Tim here. At a …

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Opinion: How we made fortnightly bin collections work in Cambridge

There have been horror stories on this site about councils suffering political disasters after introducing fortnightly bin collections. In 2005, Lib Dem-run Cambridge City Council made just such a change, and did so without any apparent political damage. At the time, I was the Executive Councillor responsible for the bins. Here’s how we did it.

In 2004, our doorstep waste and recycling service consisted of a black box for dry recyclables (paper, aluminium cans and so forth), a green bin for compostable waste (garden waste, vegetable peelings and the like) and a black bin for everything else. The black box and green bin were collected fortnightly, on alternate weeks, and the black bin was collected weekly.

The following year, we moved to a new system of alternate weekly collections. In week one, the black bin and black box were collected. In week two, the green bin was collected, along with a new blue box for recyclable plastics.

These are the key reasons why the change worked:

• The black box and green bin recycling system was well established. Residents had got used to recycling, and many of them found that their black bin was less than half full each week before we switched to fortnightly collections. This meant there was a substantial chunk of residents for who the proposed change didn’t seem like a big deal (and who were happy to get their new plastic recycling service). It’s much easier to establish an effective recycling culture first, then switch to fortnightly collections, than to try to bring it all in at once.

• We introduced the change in autumn, so that if we did have problems with uncollected or fly-tipped waste, at least it wouldn’t be lying around in the summer heat. Making these changes in spring/summer is just asking for trouble.

• We invested the bulk of the saving from moving to fortnightly collections in a new recycling service that was in high public demand: doorstep collection of recyclable plastics. This hadn’t been part of the original plan: it came out of a public consultation about how to go about implementing alternate weekly collections, in which we had taken the opportunity to ask some general questions about recycling as well. It turned out 78% of respondents wanted doorstep plastics recycling. I tasked officers with finding a way of achieving this for less money than we would save with the switch to fortnightly collections: to their credit, they managed it. This meant we weren’t just taking something away from residents: we were providing something they really wanted at the same time.

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Waste and recycling in Waverley – the Lib Dem response

Lib Dem Voice mentioned here on Monday the Financial Times’s report on the political pitfalls of waste and recycling collections, highlighting the electoral troubles it caused the Lib Dem group in Waverley in 2007. In today’s paper, Waverely Lib Dem councillor Celia Savage, has a letter published in today’s paper, noting:

Collecting waste on alternate weeks increases recycling in a cost-effective way because the materials for recycling are collected on the other alternate weeks. One or the other is collected every week. This was introduced in Waverley by the Liberal Democrats in response to the government-imposed recycling target of

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Waste and recycling collections: the political perils

Today’s Financial Times reports on the electoral situation at Waverley council, where the Lib Dem group was reduced from 27 seats to three in the 2007 local elections after introducing fortnightly waste collections to boost recycling rates. It also notes the problems suffered by Labour in Telford, Shropshire and Blackburn, and by the Conservatives in North Lincolnshire, for the same reasons.

Celia Savage, one of the surviving Lib Dem councillors in Waverley, claims the Tories ruthlessly exploited the issue of fortnightly bin collections in the run-up to the poll. Stories abounded of stinking garbage piling up in people’s gardens

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged | 5 Comments
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