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Recycling in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor goes from bad to worse

Keith Parkins | 09.02.2007 16:21 | Ecology | Health | Social Struggles

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is one of the worst performing councils in the country on recycling. And it goes from bad to worse. Council officials have now been forced to admit they have failed to meet their own targets on green waste recycling.

'One factor must be price. I am sure if we gave it away as a free service [collection of green waste] – not that we are intending to – we would have virtual universal take-up across the borough.' -- David Quirk, Head of Environment, Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

The abysmal performance on recycling in Rushmoor goes from bad to worse. The only answer, it seems, is to punish residents by cutting the refuse collection service from weekly to fortnightly.

Rushmoor was set a national target of 24%. Rushmoor managed a pathetic 21.6%, putting Rushmoor down at the bottom with some of the worst performing councils in the country. The best performing council, North Kesteven, manged 51.5%.

Of the green waste recycled, Rushmoor managed 1.86%, one of the worst in the country. North Kesteven managed 22.8%.

Of the internal target set by Rushmoor, of 6,000 households to sign up to green recycling, Rushmoor managed only 3,800 households, nowhere near their target of 6,000.

Were a football manager to deliver the performance of David Quirk, the official responsible for this abysmal performance, he would not be asked to resign, he would be fired.

North Kesteven does not fool around with bags for green waste, baskets for bottles. They have a simple three bin system, one bin for green waste, another for recyclables (including bottles), and a third bin for residual waste, with clear instructions given to each household of what to put in each bin.

Whilst is is better that green waste is separated and composted, rather than taken to landfill, better still, is households encouraged to compost in their own back gardens.

Many local authorities, but not Rushmoor, provide free composting bins, provide information on how to make quality compost. Or in other words, encourage home composting.

Like reuse and not waste, being preferable to recycling, so should home composting be preferable to the green waste being carted away to be composted.

A policy that Blackwater Valley Friends of the Earth, a local FoE group who sadly give all environmentalists a bad name, seem incapable of grasping.

BVFoE to one side, why are local councillors not questioning what is going on, voicing the growing concerns of local residents? With the honourable exceptions of Councillors David Clifford and Peter Sandy, apparently not. Instead we have vicious attacks, smear campaigns and bully-boy tactics being used to silence these two councillors, an example of which we have recently seen from Councillors Roland Dibbs and Keith Dibble who launched a vicious attack on Peter Sandy for daring to criticise and question the crass policies of the council, crass policies that are serving to alienate the public and give recycling a bad name.

We can only improve the pathetic performance on recycling in Rushmoor, if the council works with the public, employs a system for collection the public are happy with. You do not not improve performance by cutting services and ignoring what the local community are saying.



Lester R Brown, Plan B 2.0, Norton, 2006

Cindy Engel (ed), The Gaia Book of Organic Gardening, Gaia Books, 2005

Marcus Mabberley, Councillors ally to fight bin scheme, Farnborough Mail, 30 January 2007

Marcus Mabberley, 'Councillor's bin campaign is reckless', Aldershot Mail, 6 February 2007

Andrew Milford, Price and size issues causing green waste scheme target shortfall, Farnborough News, 9 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Recycling – a tale of two councils, Indymedia UK, 5 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling – the good, the bad and the ugly, Indymedia UK, 7 February 2007

Jon Weston, Councillor is just doing his job by asking opinions, letters, Farnborough News, 9 February 2007

Keith Parkins
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