Recycle 2kg More and Save £1.3 Million

The issue of waste is a big topic for Cornwall; more so as the cost of collecting and disposal of residual waste (black bags) is getting more and more costly year on year. Basically, the Government is taxing Cornwall Council more each year to dispose of waste. Each black bag you throw out literary coats the Council a lot of money. If we (you and me) spend so much on waste, then there is less money for other services.

We all know there is less money to go around especially post the spending review and the cuts in funding to Cornwall Council. We can all get angry and shocked when items like £50k is spent on the crazy idea that the World Cup is coming to England, let alone Plymouth. We also despair at high salaries paid to consultants and agency staff. These are just some of the issues that people get angry at. It is ok to moan about costs and wasting money at Cornwall Council, but how could we, the public, help save the Council money? Maybe one way could be not to throw as much rubbish out and in turn recycled better? So we the public must also do our part in saving the Council money.

This got me thinking (dangerous I know) after I attended a recent Waste Panel meeting. I asked Officers from the Waste Department for the figures relating to waste and costs in Porthleven. Sometimes I feel people (me included) only understand when it is spelt out in pounds and pence.

In Porthleven between April 2009 and March 2010 the total amount of residual waste collected was just over 850kg per dwelling. That is rubbish that goes straight into landfill. If you take the average weight of a person is 14 stone, then that amount of rubbish is equivalent to nine and a half people that we throw out each year from each dwelling. When you think of it that way, you realise how much we throw out. The question (and it is a big question) is how much of that waste could be recycled and therefore save the Council money?

The average weekly black bag waste produced per dwelling in Porthleven is 12.87kg. The estimated cost of collecting and disposing of this waste is £2.21 per week or £4.42 per fortnight. For Recycling the average weight per dwelling of the fortnightly collection is 4.42 kg and that costs £0.52 pence per dwelling per fortnight.

So if every household in Porthleven (1703 in total) reduced their black bag waste and recycled just an additional 2kg (2 bags of sugar) this would save 3.4 tonnes of black bag waste every week or 177 tonnes (each year) going to landfill. This would also save the taxpayers in our community alone over £9,000 this year, and the costs for disposing of waste to landfill are rising every year (currently Land fill Tax is £45 and rising to £80 per tonne by 2014). If these levels of additional recycling could be achieved across Cornwall this would save approximately £1.3m.

So what equates to 2kg in terms of items? Well, you could say that 2 wine bottles equals 1kg and 5 daily newspapers equals 1kg which would equate to the overall weight required. No a lot really is it? Imagine if you recycled more than an extra 2kg? The money saved really can start to add up. These figures do not include the saving to the environment through the reduction in emissions produced through landfill.

Hopefully what I have said will make you think what you throw away in those black bags. Sorry if you feel that I am banging on about this subject, but I really think it is important and we should do everything we can to reduce waste.

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