Can the Governments 2025 ‘zero waste’ targets be met without the need for an £800m incinerator?
The latest ‘Local Authority Municipal Waste Management‘ statistics have been published by the Welsh Government, excited? read on…..
The figures look at the performance of each of the 22 councils in Wales in terms of municipal waste generated per household, the percentage prepared for reuse, and how much is recycled and composted.
The Welsh Government’s “Towards Zero Waste” strategy has set a key target of 70 per cent recycling/composting of municipal waste by 2025 and zero by 2050.
To help achieve the 2025 target, Statutory Recycling Targets (SRT) have been set during key years, the most recent being 2012-13 with a target of 52 per cent for all local authority collected municipal waste.
Latest provisional data shows Flintshire for the quarter January to March 2014 achieved a decent 54 per cent which is slightly better than the Welsh average of 53 per cent
Flintshire’s recycling numbers appear to be on a steady upwards trajectory, looking at the equivalent quarter in 2010 – 13 per cent less waste ended up being recycled and composted than in 2014.
In fact, if you apply a very conservative year on year growth figure of just 1.5 per cent, which is the yearly Welsh Government target, by 2025, the goal of 70% recycling would not only be achieved, it would be surpassed.
Less waste is being produced by households and it continues to reduce, in 2010 the January to March quarter saw us throw out on average 78 kilograms of waste per person, compare that with the same quarter this year and we threw out 55 kilograms of waste per person, 23 kilograms less.
The reductions have been achieved through greater household recycling awareness, while businesses are getting much smarter with how they deal with their waste.
More investment into waste management and recycling ‘education’ in Flintshire, plus advances in new technology will help reduce the amount we throw out further, and crucially without the need the burn waste en masse.
So why 70%?
The target has been set by the European Commission, Wales has taken the lead both within the UK and Europe on reaching EU wide targets on waste management.
The benefits of achieving these targets will allow Wales to become more resilient against future competing demands for resources, support climate change objectives and of course there is huge industry spawned by recycling solid waste rather than burying it in the ground.
The magic 70 per cent figure is also the justification and main reason to build an incinerator in Deeside, according to both the The North Wales Residual Waste Treatment Project, the partnership of five North Wales local authorities, and Wheelabrator the company chosen the build the huge plant.
So, with more waste being recycled by the council and less waste being thrown out by households is the 70 per cent target achievable without the need for £800 million pounds worth of ‘burner’?
Sure we will be told its not! and to simply look at household waste is an over simplistic view of the current situation, this massive ‘investment’ of tax payer money into ‘Parc Adfar’ looks set to happen regardless of whether it’s actually needed or not, given we could potentially achieve the target ‘organically’.
Talking about the latest set of figures local assembly member Carl Sargeant said;
“It’s great to see the efforts being made by households and businesses paying off.
“Wales is performing extremely well and is leading the way in green credentials throughout the UK. Welsh Government targets are focused on ensuring recycling reaches 58% by 2016 and 70% by 2025 and we appear to be well on track to achieving this.
“Flintshire in particular has made huge strides in its efforts with the introduction of its food waste recycling system and I am sure the county will continue to improve in the coming years.”
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