Are we Doing Enough on Recycling?
By Marguerita Moreton and Merilyn Canet
Tunbridge Wells has just appointed a new waste disposal contractor, starting on 1st April. The new contract includes fortnightly doorstep collection of glass and a weekly food waste collection. Liberal Democrats have campaigned for doorstep glass collection over the last three years and are pleased to welcome this addition. Why no similar service in Sevenoaks District yet?
A new Tunbridge Wells scheme for garden waste - as an opt-in service for which you pay - will start later, like the one already in operation in Sevenoaks. There is a risk residents may opt out leading to more fly tipping in our woods, but people need to be encouraged to either compost their green waste or let the council do it.
Much of our recycled material goes to produce energy, but there is a need for more community engagement, in sorting out waste into what can and can't be recycled. It would help if there were more consistency between councils on what can be accepted for recycling, and better information, so that there's better take-up.
How different countries tackle this waste can be informative. In France councils provide excellent and hi-tech waste recycling services. In Japan there are few rubbish bins - because the principle everyone accepts is that your rubbish is your responsibility, to take home and dispose of carefully.
Technology is part of the answer, but making recycling easier, and an accepted social obligation, is where we need to be. Increasing numbers of young people, seeing the tide of plastic in our hedgerows and in the oceans, understand this very well indeed.
Marguerita Morton and Merilyn Canet