Is the council about to dump our recycling abroad?

Fascinating comment in the minutes of the city council’s Resources Scrutiny Commission of 15 January.

Councillors querying officers about what would happen to household recycling waste that could not be sold, as seems increasingly likely, were told:

recycled material that could not be economically sold could be sent elsewhere as the contractors SITA had a number of world wide contacts, however, costs associated with this remained with the City Council;

So having paid extra money to recycle our waste, we’re now going to have to pay even more so that SITA can ship the whole lot out to some obscure developing world tinpot dictatorship to dump in the ground. Welcome to the Green Capital!

If, as seems to be the case, a pile of festering, worthless crap is indeed worthless, can’t we just save a load of money and face reality by putting our ‘recycling’ in the bin and dumping it in our own hole in the ground? Or is that not green?


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29 Responses to Is the council about to dump our recycling abroad?

  1. Rogers says:

    Wouldnt it be cheaper to put the fucking council in a hole
    cunts.

  2. Ella says:

    I prefer to throw my recycling at passing cats.

  3. Spectator's Dog says:

    “I prefer to throw my recycling at passing cats.”

    Can’t stand cats… horrible things that crap in my garden… they run away when I go to bit them… they smell horrid too… Ella, you’re rising ever higher in my estimation… got any biscuits?

  4. Jozer says:

    Does anyone else suspect that all this recycling is bollox?

  5. Paul Smith says:

    Its lack of value is temporary, they should hold on to it and sell it when commodity markets rise (it is actually starting) – far better than saving money in Iceland

  6. Chris Hutt says:

    Perhaps we need a Recyclables Futures Market to create a more stable price structure for local authorities.

  7. Gary Hopkins says:

    Are you moonlighting for the daily mail BB?

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    Try this – it’s from Ireland but the principles are the same:

    The price falls have shown that the true costs of operating waste recovery are considerably higher than previously perceived. If processing is to continue to be carried out on a commercially viable basis, additional sources of revenues will have to found.

    There are systemic failures in the sector.

    http://www.repak.ie/files/Bacon%20Report%20on%20Waste%20Markets,%20Nov.%202008_1.pdf

  9. old misery guts says:

    I’m with Jozer. Particular bugbear are the bastard supermarkets who make you feel like a eco terrorist if you want a bag to put your shopping in. I re-use the ones I get as bin liners. The idea that tesco et al are taking the fucking moral high ground when all they’re really doing is passing costs on to customers makes me sick. If they really gave a shit about the environment, they’d take a look at all the unneccessary packaging wrapping the goods on their shelves which fills the bins to overflowing. And before you start, if I lived in an area where there were hundreds of little shops, and if I had the time, of course I’d boycott the fuckers. But I don’t, so I can’t.

  10. dave angel says:

    Speaking of needless waste creation, how do I stop the Observer, Pigeon and other crap coming through my letterbox.

    It is clearly not free as the council are adding a bit to my council tax to recycle all these averts

  11. BristolPatriot says:

    I must aghree with DA.
    The crap that keeps coming through my letterbox is beyond reason [I have a sign up saying no flyers etc] But these illiterate types keep bunging up the hallway with endless amounts of junk mail.

    The council is probably one of the worst offenders but at least you can recycle their stuff can be re cycled easily enough not like the L####r Junk on glossy difficult to recycle pamphlets!

  12. BristolPatriot says:

    Ha Ha [on myself] Illiterate types and I typed Aghree [plank].Instead of agree

  13. Martyn Whitelock says:

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The first two words are more important than the last!

  14. Gary Hopkins says:

    There are 2 real but essentially temporary challenges with recycled material in this country at the moment.
    1 Total demand for all material for manufacturuing is down and so prices of cans etc is lower.For a while during the boom there was a useful profit being made on these. It is still cheaper overall if you include the cost of disposal to treat these separately.
    2 Britain,having got into the recycling culture rather later than the continent still has a lag in terms of good reprossesing plants.
    The remarks about third world tin pot dictatorships and burial are very wide of the mark as in fact all of Bristol’s recycling material are recycled although it is perfectly possible for some of it to be done in a continental plant temporarily while UK capacity is built.
    On a similar basis Bristol temporarily has to export our food waste to Dorset for composting but a new plant is now being built at Severnside (less than a year away despite delays caused by present administration).
    Continued large scale landfilling of untreated waste is not an option. There are massive environmental costs which because of taxes are rapidly and progressively turning into financial costs for landfilling and in addition it is becoming illegal to put large number of substances into the ground.
    The real choice though is between 2 regimes for dealing with waste.
    The first is the one that I and my party started in Bristol 2-3 years ago . This involves waste reduction,reuse, separation at source ,treatment (eg composting) and then small scale treatment plants(almost certainly advanced thermal treatment) for the remainder.
    The second is bung the majority in a black bin, cart it off to a monster PFI funded incinerator at Avonmouth and burn it along with imported waste to reduce the weight and volume but leave yourself with toxic waste to dispose of.
    If you are worried about a temporary glut of recyclates costing us should you not be rather more worried about the £615 +++ PFI bill that Bristol Labour wants us to sign up to.
    This clear choice will be a key one in the local elections in June .
    On one side you have the Lib Dems with Green support and on the other Labour with the Tories dangling in the middle.

  15. Dona Qixota says:

    “Bristol temporarily has to export our food waste to Dorset for composting but a new plant is now being built at Severnside ”

    Well, it doesn’t export mine, Gary. We compost our stuff in the backgarden or allotment. Why can’t we organise proper community composting in people’s immediate neighbourhood. This would boost community feeling and activity as well as being much more sustainable. A win/win situation for all, surely?

  16. SueD says:

    Community composting would be excellent – I have no idea what happens to the waste the council collects for composting – why can’t we go and buy it for a knockdown price given we’ve supplied the raw materials?
    Also what about reusing glass bottles? It seems ridiculous that perfectly useable bottles are smashed up for recycling instead of being washed and reused (like milk bottles).

  17. Siesta says:

    Gary: I think you mean “On the one side you have the Greens and many other environmental orgs, plus opportunistic and probably temporary Lib Dem support”.

    A quick Google of “lib dems incinerator” reveals your lot seem to have only started opposing incinerators since the Labour govt started pushing them, and that your opposition is notable by its absence when you’re actually in power somewhere (eg York, Cornwall, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Norwich etc etc etc)

    Do you ever write anything that isn’t dishonest in some way?

  18. Sceptic says:

    @Siesta:

    Do you ever write anything that isn’t dishonest in some way?

    Politicians lips move when they tell lies. They also approach every problem with an open mouth. What does that tell you about their morals as a group?

    We’d have a more honest administration all round if the whole council – both paid officers and elected councillors – were supplied by a local timber merchant

  19. Jog says:

    There are elections in May, Sceptic.

    All you need are 10 signatures & you are on the ballot paper

  20. Chris Hutt says:

    Local elections are June 4th this year, combined with the Euro elections.

  21. Jog says:

    Oops, thanks for the correction.

  22. Rosso Verde says:

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The first two words are more important than the last!

    Well said Martyn – that’s the point a lot of politicians and others are missing.

    “Why can’t we organise proper community composting in people’s immediate neighbourhood. This would boost community feeling and activity as well as being much more sustainable. A win/win situation for all, surely?”

    Yes, well put Donna, we are lucky enough to have a decent garden – Community composting would be great for those of us with no garden/allotment.
    http://www.communitycompost.org/
    http://www.recyclingconsortium.org.uk/community/compost.htm

    Possibly the new economic reality we are facing will change more people approach to how they live in terms of waste, most politicians will as usual be a long way behind what well organised communities can achive.

    We should welcome the Lib Dems oppostition to incineration, however cynical we may be regarding their motives.

  23. Gary Hopkins says:

    As it happens home composting is much increased over recent years. This was increased by a combination of the new waste services and subsidised sales of home composting bins by the council with some government support. We did change the way things were done but got only part way through our programme of change. In addition many people said that they changed buying habits when it was brought home to them how much food they were wasting.
    Yes we trebled the recycling rate in Bristol but the most important progress was in waste reduction where we were the most improved council in the country.
    There are barriers put in the way of sensible group arrangements for composting by central government regulations but home composting is universally encouraged and has no complications. General encouragement of the concept by community based organisations is practical.
    Absolutely true that Cllrs. of all parties including Greens and independants have been in control of councils that have progressed incinerators. That does not make them right. You will find that in nearly every case officers encouraged by DEFRA officials waving Greek gifts in front of them have been responsible for progressing the schemes and Cllrs then find themselves trapped. I have studied a number of these cases and in most cases Cllrs were told that the PFI did not commit them to an incinerator and then they found themselves with practically no way out.
    “We are not committed to one technology” is exactly the nonsense that Cllr Bradshaw and his consultants have been spouting on behalf of the West of England and what I have been warning of since the took over 18 months ago and started heading in this direction.

  24. Matt says:

    How about us consuming less waste in the process and insist on less packaging?

    Must admit the SITA deal with the council seems madness!

  25. Siesta says:

    Gary – thanks for answering my previous question:

    “Cllrs. of all parties including Greens and independants have been in control of councils that have progressed incinerators”

    The Greens? Really? Care to give an example?

  26. Dona Qixota says:

    “There are elections in May, Sceptic. All you need are 10 signatures & you are on the ballot paper”

    Things aren’t that easy, Jog. There’s a lot more to sorting this mess out than getting 10 signatures and your name on a ballot paper.

    Does it never occur to you that the system itself may be bent, flawed, or faulty, in ways that are quite complicated? That’s certainly how it looks to me.

  27. Rosso Verde says:

    Don’t think Gary will find any examples, of any local Green councillors backing incineration, he’s just making it up as he goes along!

    This is from 2006
    http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/policy/0803NoIncineratorStatement.htm

  28. thebristolblogger says:

    This is the crux of Gary’s argument:

    essentially temporary challenges

    But how long is temporary? 6 months? Or 4 – 5 years as some say?

    Nobody knows, which is why the council has a contingency plan. And the plan – in their own words – is to ship the stuff abroad and bury it at our expense.

    Gary can bleat about the Daily Mail all he likes but if the market – over which he and his party have no control whatsoever – stays depressed, the plan is clear.

  29. Chris Hutt says:

    What I’ve heard is that the collapse in the value of recyclates arises because the companies that process them tend to be locked into contracts with their main raw material suppliers which they can’t cut back on as quickly as they need to, so cutting back on recyclates is the only short term option to cut costs. So 6 months might be nearer the mark.

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