Well done to Mark Jones (Star Letters, 8th December 2014) for recycling as much as he can. The Green Party has a clear policy on waste. Firstly we should produce less waste in the first place (by reducing packaging and making goods which last longer). Secondly, we should mend or re-use as much as we can (think e-bay, charity shops, Freecycle and Freegle). After that, recycling is better for the environment than incineration, even when the heat created is pumped to local buildings or used to make electricity. Landfill is worst of all and is low in Sheffield due to incinerating most of our waste. The problem is that, having spent millions on a giant new incinerator and signed a long-term contract with Veolia, there is no money left to expand recycling services. This explains why Veolia only collects the most lucrative plastics (i.e. bottles), glass and cans, not the full range of plastics. The biggest potential for more recycling is food waste, which makes up half the bin. Some local authorities are now sending this for anaerobic digestion, making gas which can be used in vehicles or to generate electricity. The residue can be used by farmers, saving on polluting chemical-based fertilizers. But Sheffield can’t afford this kind of technology and will be playing “catch up” until 2036 when the contract with Veolia finally runs out.
Cllr Jillian Creasy, Green Party