Turning waste into a resource

“…As the public spending cuts continue to dominate the headlines it is inevitable that councils will be battening down the hatches and prioritising when and where money is allocated…Cost cutting and green agendas can of course work in tandem…It stands to reason that using fewer resources saves money…”

Daniel Rankine – Public Service Events “Sustainable Scotland- Establishing a greener future”

October is dominated by the economy.  Words like deficit, austerity and cuts are scattered around like confetti.  But to me the month has been dominated by another word – that of environment.

This is because I am working with a client who specialises in waste management and I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in some of the biggest issues facing our society and the planet as a whole.  The waste we leave behind is beyond belief, our attitudes at best ‘laissez faire’ at worse reckless and irresponsible.  But, there is hope, I have had the chance this month to meet some of the people who are at the forefront of trying to ensure that our waste is dealt with and turned into a resource.

Environmental Waste Controls Ltd are a business based just outside Liverpool and they are completely obsessed with taking people’s waste and reducing the environmental and economic impact.  Many of their competitors are national and international players who are being contracted by city authorities such as Liverpool and Manchester but who cannot match their performance.

I had the chance to visit one of the sites they operate for Warrington Council and see why they are achieving some of the best recycling targets in the country and why they are outstripping their competitors.  At the site you notice one thing above all else and that is the people working there.  They are literally high visibility, and not just due to their safety clothing.  They are passionate about recycling and from the gate you are guided and helped to sort and sift and recycle your waste.  As a result they achieve targets of at least 85% of all items going to recycling.  This is an incredible result and they are trying to increase this and in some parts of the country are hitting as high as 95%.  Many of their competitors are at half this total.  Every employee is incentivised to earn based on this target and waste is seen as a resource for reuse or recycling.  They also go further seeing public education as their duty.  And, they hate landfill with a vengeance unlike some of their competitors who are compromised operating both recycling centres and landfill sites.

So why is that some authorities like Warrington are enlightened and others like Liverpool and Manchester are appointing companies that also operate landfill sites and are not totally incentivised around recycling.  Well guess what – money is the answer.  There is a perversity in the economic targets.  There is a real danger that this month’s theme of the economy and this cutting obsession will harm public services but worse than that it will harm our natural environment.

Of course the Government has set a target to be a zero waste economy, but whilst public sector procurement is driven by cost and austerity, there is a dilemma.

Companies like Environmental Waste Controls are leading the way and they deserve all our support.

I suggest you take a look:  http://ewc.eu.com/

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