The vast amount of waste generated by our over-consuming society is a scandalously inefficient use of resources. It is environmentally damaging, unsustainable and unnecessary. If everyone in the world lived like the average Worcester resident then we would need three extra planets to support the current global population. National legislation (e.g. taxes on packaging and non-recyclable materials) would be the most effective way to tackle the root causes of the problem; however, much more can be done locally to encourage the reduction of waste and the reuse and recycling of materials.
We need to move towards a 'zero waste' strategy: reducing the amount of waste produced, re-using, repairing and recycling materials, recovering usable materials from waste, and composting organic matter. We would seek incentives for re-use schemes, and for businesses that repair, recycle and reduce packaging. Several cities around the world have already set themselves the target of becoming zero waste. Local authorities including North East Somerset and Essex, and even companies including Honda, Toyota and Xerox, all have zero waste strategies.
Sending our waste to landfill is increasingly expensive, and not sustainable. Incinerators cause pollution, and actually encourage us to produce waste to be burned. What is required is a local facility that collects, processes and redistributes recyclable material, supplemented by small anaerobic digestion plants and biomass facilities. This would greatly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and reduce the need for incineration.
Most local businesses are keen to recycle, but it's often inconvenient or expensive. As a result, many just fill their refuse sacks. This in turn adds to the cost of the Council's waste collection. Extending the household recycling service to include businesses would save everybody money and reduce waste.
We have all become used to living in a throw-away society. That has to change. Much of the waste we generate is unnecessary, and a large part of the problem of waste can be solved simply by not generating so much of it.
Waste is also about litter, and fly-tipping. In Worcester, litter is particular problem near takeaway food outlets, and on routes that lead away from them. Not only is this unsightly and unhygienic, it leads to other problems, such as the large numbers of gulls that have come to live and breed here. Although currently less obvious, the rat population is also on the increase. Aggressive anti-litter and anti-fly tipping education campaigns could go some way to reducing the burden. But new initiatives are needed.
Green Party Meetings
All Green Party members are welcome to come along to our monthly meeting to discuss our plans for Worcester and Worcestershire.
Our next meeting is our AGM and starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday 15th July. Our monthly business meetings will now be online via Zoom. Please contact Louis Stephen by email if you would like to attend. If you need any help setting up Zoom, please get in touch.
For more information, contact Louis via email or telephone 01905 359 509.