Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Things are most definitely hotting up in the UK, with Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment today announcing plans to turn Britain into a "Zero Waste Nation", expecting all local authorities to offer comprehensive collection services by 2020.
Included in his strategy is a ban on recyclable materials from landfill and schemes to encourage better recycling, including the generation of energy from collected food waste. As well as municipal waste, there are also plans to reduce commercial and industrial waste, working with businesses and the waste management industry to encourage innovative practices.
This is great news in itself, but what excites me more in a "Football's coming home" kind of way, is that my local county of Suffolk, in the East of England, has been chosen as one of six new Zero Waste places to trial what many are calling the government's tough new recycling policy.
Representing the Suffolk Waste Partnership, Councillor Roy Barker, has this evening been quoted in the local press, saying he is delighted that Suffolk is at the forefront of this innovative scheme.
And I can certainly share his enthusiasm, especially as it has been confirmed that Suffolk residents are already among the best recyclers in the country, with half of our waste being diverted from landfill.
So where can Suffolk go next in its Zero Waste plans?
Well, the exciting news is the announcement of the "Suffolk Seven Streets" project, which has been awarded a £10,000 grant from DEFRA, challenging local households to reduce their rubbish even further, indeed by half.
One street in each of the seven Suffolk local authority districts will be selected to test a new recycling regime. And with the support of council recycling teams, businesses and residents will be encouraged to see who can reduce their rubbish the most.
Further news will be available over the next few months as the local scheme takes shape and I can't wait to report on what's happening in and around the county.
But dare I say, as well as encouraging others, the competitive streak is now rising within me and I am already dancing around in glee flying my own virtual flag for St Edmundsbury. I'm now wondering if I can volunteer my own street and survey our local residents to see if they want to fly the flag with me. I think I might just ring the council and see if we're eligible.
But then again, the thought of knocking on strangers' doors makes me feel like the BBC's choirmaster Gareth Malone trying to create a brand-new community choir in South Oxhey.
I suppose I could always don an England football shirt, and merrily sing "Recycling's coming home" when they answer. Or should it be an Ipswich Town shirt I wonder.
One thing's for sure, if the "Suffolk Seven Streets" project gets as competitive as the local football leagues, just imagine the results.
I won't run ahead of myself quite yet. All I can say is well done to Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Waste Partnership. Congratulations on taking the lead. When it comes to Zero Waste projects, this is going to be very exciting indeed.