How Green is our Council

At the Councils Review Committee on Tuesday the new Leader came to present areas he wanted the Committee to look at and develop as Policy.  One of the areas was about “being Green”.

Obviously being Green, or maybe green, can cover a vast area of ideas, concepts and actions.  From reducing single plastic use to the whole Council reducing its Carbon Footprint.

One item mentioned specifically though was recycling, which Rochford is rather good at being in the top 2 most years for the whole Country.  I mention this as a few days ago there was a programme by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall  about plastic waste and problems of how it is recycled.

Where does out plastic waste go to though.  We do spend time saving it and making sure the right waste goes in the right bin and we trust the Council to dispose of it or recycle it properly.  I did ask this question back in October last year and found the answer reassuring, until i watched the programme last night that is.  An extract of the reply i received is below

“In the Rochford District we collect plastics co-mingled with other recyclable materials and this material is taken to a Viridor Material Recycling Facility (MRF) in Crayford, Kent where it is separated by material type and baled for onward processing.

Some grades of Plastics are then sent by type, to another Viridor MRF in Rochester which specialises in plastics, where it is sorted further to ensure it is of a sufficiently high quality. Plastics are also sent to other locations, mostly in the UK for recycling – the major destination is Viridor Polymer Recycling in Lancashire. A small proportion of the plastics are also exported overseas to countries including Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Vietnam, Turkey & Malaysia. Every quarter a report is sent to me containing a breakdown of where all the materials, including plastics ends up i.e. it’s final destination. I report this information to Defra.”

I have underlined the important part.  Some of our waste goes to Malaysia where it may just be left and not dealt with (we don’t know for sure and nor does the Council).  It says a small proportion but over the year that may still be many thousands of tonnes which we are sending around the World to be dumped, polluting the local area.

I have asked the Review Committee to look at this and make sure we are not contributing to the problem.