Friday, 19 June 2009

News - let's celebrate

A good day today for me, as I  just published my first eco-article for a local magazine!! So with no further ado, here is the story:

'Crunch-time' (by Iris von Brandstatter / Maybe Magazine June/July 09)

Local Authorities across the country have stepped up a notch this year tackling even more of their carbon emission and recycling issues. The ‘Cash for Trash’ initiative in Milton Keynes is a leading example to spur this recycling boom. Anyone putting out pink sacks and blue boxes stands a chance of winning one of two weekly £100 prizes, thus helping to close the loop of the re-cycle and producing and end-product of value.

But much more needs to be done. Compared to other European countries, the UK falls embarrassingly short in it’s recycling motivation. Figures suggest 60% of all household waste could be recycled or composted, but the UK appears to be only reusing 17.7%. There is still too much complacency in the shires when an: ‘I recycle everything that’s possible!” should be the norm by now.  

By 2011 Bucks council aims to have reduced the total amount of CO2 produced by its services by 4% - an ambitious aim indeed.

A look at the forefront of regional carbon-cutters and better information they can provide is a vital part of continuing progress to demystify the last smelly grey areas of how to deal with our waste management issues. Rubbish! - Yes, exactly!

Community Waste Ltd., Director Richard Cutts, gladly gives an insight into the future and points out how much commercial sense recycling makes. “Recycling doesn’t only make sense for the environment. We derive economic benefits too; for example by ‘piggy-backing ’onto empty cargo containers to ship our recycled raw materials to manufacturers abroad, thus keeping our own carbon emissions down.”

On a community level, more and more schools & social enterprises join the green revolution proactively and truly walk their talk. They approach the topic with amicable commitment and creativity. Many have made their first steps by switching to eco-friendlier products and some are tailoring their curriculums to focus on environmental education for the next generation of our wee eco-warriors.

As recently announced, £1.1 million has been awarded to the county council by the Carbon Trust's 'Salix Finance' to reduce its CO2 emissions. One million pounds of the total funding award is an interest-free 'energy efficiency loan’. This money will be put to good use to also make schools more energy efficient. Wolverton is involved in a new scheme called ‘Transition Towns’, focusing on making communities more sustainable in energy consumption and general supplied goods.

Also their finger on the green pulse in Buckinhgamshire have:

-       Swanbourne House School and their eco-friendly fire engine - Head of design technology, Colbert Shepherd, said: "Several issues we have been looking at and which have also been on the news is being eco-friendly, trying to conserve fuel and how to run diesel engines on vegetable oil.

-       Grenville Combined School in Buckingham have made good use of plastic carrier bags by creating a rainbow – an eco art work spanning 3 m, displayed on the school grounds. Head Teacher Anne Brown: "We are on the way to becoming an eco-school and the project was to teach children that plastic bags don't biodegrade."

And a true innovative example is set by ‘Brill Church of England Combined School in Bucks’ who not only have set out on a ‘Greening Brill School’ project, including their own organic vegetable garden, but also installed a wind turbine and a ground source heat pump.

The motivated kids set up an Eco-Charter initiative in 2008:

~ We will compost and recycle as much of our waste as possible

~ We will not waste energy

~ We will use rainwater for watering our plants

~ We will try not to use plastic bags and will take a more sustainable alternative when shopping

~ We will try to help local or world-wide neighbor by buying local or Fair Trade produce

~ We will calculate our Carbon Footprint for our family and try to reduce it

~ We will encourage our friends to become eco-friendly

Bless their fair-trade cotton socks! That’s the spirit we need to follow! And what better way than to lead by good example.

Talking to site managers from community waste centers it becomes clear that councils still are seen as too complacent regarding re-cycling issues.

Want to get more involved or inform yourself in more depth? Here are some useful resources:

Recycle for Buckinghamshire

Transition town Wolverton:

Recycling Lives