Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Waste of Space

There are times when you really have to wonder.

Labour have clearly succeeded in conning people into thinking that their green waste scheme was actually a green waste scheme. In that the waste is green I suppose they are correct. Except some of it is brown. And some of it isn't. But I digress.

What we see here is Labour telling a lie so big that people believe it. They convinced a shadow minister to come to Reading, read from her script without engaging brain first and weep for the plight ofthe amazonian rainforests. "Why won't somebody please think of the parrots?"

Even the "Greens" have fallen for Labour's fairy story. Shame on them. But then Rob White has been spoon fed by them since he got on the council, attending briefing sessions and even on one occasion I've been told acting as a door man at a public meeting, whilst Labour got on with the real politics of the meeting leaving him on the sidelines. Rob, they are not your friends. They lie to you.

So what does happen to all the green waste so dilligently collected by residents? Yep, it ends up on the landfill site. Putting it in the green bin is as "environmentally friendly" as putting it in the grey bin. It will decompose in the same place. Except you have to have a extra fleet of lorries racing around polluting the streets and everyone pays towards it regardless of use.

Why do we have one? When Reading started alternate weekly collections, Steve Waite was told that he could add a green waste collection for "free" with the surplus capacity. I suspect it was a move to keep Labour's chums in the T&GWU sweet. It also explains why when councils were making the move to alternate weekly collections across the country to save hundreds of thousands and even millions of pounds, good old Labour Reading Borough Council saved a massive £40,000 from the Streetcare budget.

So why did I think Reading needed this change? I could have left it alone.
The current cost in landfill tax of each tonne is £48. i discovered that the cost to RBC for disposing of the "green waste" is £90 a tonne. This is the economics of the mad house so no wonder Jo Lovelock and Paul Gittings are so proud of it. It's staggering in fact.

The green waste collection costs twice as much as sending it to landfill, it provides negligible environmental benefit and if you take into account the extra lorries chasing around the streets there is probably a net negative effect on the environment. And just to top off Labour's solid grasp of economics, apart from churn from new residents, anyone ever likely to buy a green bin already has bought one.

In any case, residents aren't being charged full cost recovery, the service is still subsidised to an extent. Labour controlled Oxford has introduced a £35 a year charge. They didn't tell the shadow minister that did they?

If it was simply about saving money, maybe people would have a point but it wasn't. Providing the green waste collection at such a massive loss prevented any other type of recycling scheme from being implemented, even if it was better for the environment.

Green Waste:
Cost of service: £750,000 per annum.
Coverage 25% of residents.
Total possible tonnage: 2,500 per annum

Glass Recycling
Cost of service: £530,000 per annum.
Coverage; 100% of residents.
Total possible tonnage: 3,500 per annum

I would have preferred to have had a glass collection service start up at the same time as the green waste changes but you can't start up a new scheme from scratch overnight complicated by Labour signing us up to a 25 year PFI deal which means that RBC doesn't actually own its own rubbish.

Before it could start there needs to be budget approval, somewhere for it to go and vehicles to be bought or leased and also agreement with our partners. that I had been working on but the cost of the green waste service needed to be addressed. Others may take a different view but I felt a subsidised but sustainable green waste collection and a new borough wide kerbside glass collection service would be better for the environment and better service for residents.

I'll make one easy prediction though. Labour won't reverse this charge they just hope enough people are dumb enough to think they will, Go on. Ask them for a direct promise to reverse it. They won't give you one. It is a con.


Jonathan said...

If it is going to the same landfill site, then what is the negligible environmental benefit?

Was said...

Mulching it will I presume allow it to break down quicker than untreated and you do need top fill at some point so you could argue that you are saving transport costs.

However, given the quite vitriolic ride we got from Labour whenever we brought up the subject of kerbside glass collection, to find it was actually cheaper to have a glass collection was revealing.

Then perhaps it was the idea of talking to Bracknell and Wokingham in a spirit of co-operation that they found too much to handle.

Adrian Windisch said...

Quite a confusing post Warren. Only in the comments do you admit that there is an environmental benefit to green waste collection. Its not the best but its a lot better than landfill. I would have supported glasd collection and have said so many times, shame you dudnt do it when you were in power.

The current policy will penalise those who use green bins, encourage people to put green waste in landfill. Shame.

The other Warren said...

I fear you are right about Rob White he appears to be getting used by Labour.
The Greens here in Reading have always been a bit naive.

Was said...

Adrian, I've always had my doubts about the Green's actual green credentials but as you say you can't understand things here's a simple quiz for you.

Spot the difference:

1) You put your green waste in a landfill bin and it is sent to the landfill site

2) You put your green waste in a lovely green coloured bin, call it a green waste collection, operate it at enormous expense to the council tax payer and send it to the same landfill site as (1) to decompose

And shame on me for what exactly?

I was told when I took over that I could get anything collected from the kerbside that I wanted but because Labour had signed us up to a 25 year PFI contract, the carefully segregated waste would be delivered to Smallmead, loaded up in the transfer trucks and taken to the landfill site.

It seems from your comments that you'd have preferred me to do exactly that.

I had spent a lot of time in making it happen and had made enormous progress but I absolutely reject youridea of introducing a scheme until there is somewhere meaningful for it to go.

To do otherwise is deceitful and a con and it's interesting to see that you and the Greens sticking up for Labour's scam.

In reality it's shame on you.