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Public information is key to waste strategy.

Sheffield Green Party has commented on a South Yorkshire waste strategy, saying the most important thing is public education on reducing waste.
Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield Councils are reviewing their waste strategies. At present the four authorities have different approaches, with most of Sheffield’s waste going to an incinerator, although Sheffield’s total waste collected has been reducing year on year.

Sheffield Green Party says there needs to be more action on composting in Sheffield and recycling plastics in Rotherham, as levels of these are below the SY average. Sheffield still comes 316th out of 352 local authorities for recycling.

However, the key thing is public information about reducing waste in the first place and better ways to recycle what is left.

Douglas JohnsonDouglas Johnson, Green Councillor for City ward, said,

“There are some great benefits that could be gained from authorities across South Yorkshire working together, especially on more options for recycling, and better ways of involving and informing residents about waste. Even though Sheffield is hamstrung by its massive contract with Veolia, we hope there will be enough flexibility to make improvements at a time when councils are struggling with cuts.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

Details of the waste strategy are at http://www.bdronline.co.uk/haveyoursay
Sheffield Green Party’s response states:

Sheffield Green Party wishes to provide the following consultation response on the South Yorkshire Waste Strategy 2016-2021
Sheffield Green Party welcomes the plan to join up waste management services across South Yorkshire. When nearly half of Government funding to local authorities has been cut, this approach highlights how joint working across South Yorkshire could benefit local authorities. We hope that the approach can focus on areas of concern, in particular:

· A joined up approach to waste has the potential to make the most of the facilities owned by the four South Yorkshire Authorities. A focus should be on how waste can be better handled and diverted from landfill or incineration.
· For Rotherham, recycling of plastics is a clear priority for residents, and will also have a significant impact on the emission of greenhouse gases.
· The production of biogas and compost from the anaerobic digestion of food waste helps reduce the burning fossil fuels and the costly production of fertiliser. This would be a great option for Sheffield, where food waste is just incinerated at the moment.
· The growth in the number of blocks of flats with communal waste management is an area where a consistent and coherent approach to recycling is needed: at present many residents have fewer recycling options than those householders with kerbside collections

As the resources available for prevention have fallen, cuts in local authority budgets have led to a rise in fly-tipping across the country. This causes distress for residents living near fly-tipping sites, means significant costs for landowners and local authorities and blights the landscape. We hope the new strategy will focus on authorities working together and better tackling the issue of fly-tipping through the sharing of information and resources.

The main challenge for the waste strategy, however, is not how waste services are organised, but how residents become more informed, and feel more involved. Encouraging greater re-use and recycling through work with retailers, schools and communities is vital.

Information and education could highlight the fact that the most significant step we can take is to cut down our spending on items (like surplus food and clothes) that we don’t need and thus often get wasted. If something gets broken, it can sometimes be repaired rather than thrown away. There are many misunderstandings about what happens to waste, why we need to recycle and the benefits we all receive. By joining up across South Yorkshire, we hope that this is an opportunity to have renewed focus on how to educate and inspire the residents of South Yorkshire to care about what happens to their waste, and make better use of what they have.

Topics: City Ward, Douglas Johnson, Featured, Recycling, Waste

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