There’s no such thing as waste;
only stuff in the wrong place!
Lincolnshire County Council is currently conducting a two-month consultation on the JOINT MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY for the County. For convenience, the waste strategy is abbreviated to the catchy acronym of JMWMS. Unfortunately, the consultation concludes next Monday 2nd July so if you want to participate you will need to get your skates on.
For many people, the most important value, vision and target of a County-wide municipal waste strategy can be summarised as “Make sure my bins get emptied every Thursday” but the consultation assumes all consultees will be diligent in reading the various documents associated with the Draft JMWMS (a summary is available) and the Environmental Report, The first is 54 pages long (or 66 including appendices) while the latter is a technical document of 38 pages (or 116 including appendices).
I have already submitted my response. If you want to use my answers to inform your own response you are most welcome. I have already shared them with SKDC who apparently considered them as part of their workshop on the issue. (This was a another closed Members’ workshop without any external invitees. It was attended by three councillors and a few council officers. The response drafted by the workshop has been circulated to other members of the Enviroment OSC but will not be published in any committee report).
Here are my own responses. NB. I have only put the answers. If you want to see what the questions are, you will have to follow the link to the JMWMC consultation, which is kinda the point of this whole blogpost. Anyway, here goes:
The statement is too verbose. It gives opportunity for Members and Officers to make excuses for failing to deliver, e.g. ‘it was innovative but too expensive’, ‘it was effective but not customer friendly’.
It also ignores the need to reduce waste generation. We wouldn’t need to manage waste if it didn’t exist.
A better vision statement would be this: “To minimise the environmental costs of waste management in Lincolnshire through the prevention, reuse, recycling and appropriate disposal of waste.”
There is no mention anywhere of “Climate Change” nor “Global Environment”. There is very little mention or explanation of resource depletion.
The document fails to mention that the earth’s natural resources (e.g. metals, forests) are finite and that effective waste and recycling has a positive benefit on the global environment.
Most people see the connection between recycling and the global environment and it is one of the reasons why people try to recycle more.
1) The structure of local government hinders effective waste collection and disposal. It would be better to dismantle the County Council and to allow smaller unitary authorities to be responsible for the collection AND disposal of waste arisings. The current system is too bureaucratic.
2) There is little or no mention of partnership working with existing private sector waste collection agents e.g. scrap merchants, rag collections and private recycling sites. The demise of recycling credits has been to the detriment of recycling as a whole and they should be reinstated or ‘reinvented’.
The principal concern is that the strategy is led by a need to comply with regulation rather than a heartfelt need to mitigate the impact of climate change and resource depletion.
1) Disposable nappies represent a significant part of the waste stream. The use and packaging of formula milk also generates more waste. A concerted effort to promote breast-feeding and reusable nappies could make a difference to the environmental costs of waste collection and disposal in Lincolnshire.
2) More accessible waste collection facilities would make it easier for ageing, vulnerable and disabled people to recycle their waste.
It is unreasonable and unrealistic to expect consultees to read and absorb a 116 page technical document with no executive summary or conclusions. Questions like this only serve to reinforce the commonly held view that the County Council is remote and out-of-touch with residents and that consultations like this are not a serious attempt to gauge anyone’s views or opinions.
Please see previous answer. No one can seriously expect ordinary consultees to be able to properly judge whether the information within a 116 page technical report has been properly integrated into another 66 page technical report.
End of responses.
Many thanks to Formidable Vegetable Sound System for the video embedded into this blog post. Nip to their website if you want to hear more of their music including “My Dad’s Dunny” and “Beetroot to yourself”.
You might also like to check out some other blogs which might give inspiration for reducing waste in ways even more practical than responding to a County Council JMWMS consultation!