Monday, 12 December 2011

NLWA: "Tonnes of waste saved from landfill as north London shows it's all about give and take..."

[With comments.]

"North London residents helped save more than 6.5 tonnes of waste homewares, electrical items and clothing from going to landfill this autumn, as hundreds of people from across the seven north London boroughs participated in North London Waste Authority (NLWA)'s 'Give and Take' Days. 

"The [only] 14 events, delivered in partnership with north London's seven borough councils and environmental charity Waste Watch, took place at weekends from September to November in schools and community centres across the area. An impressive 1,698 people attended the events, and stopped a total of 6.5 tonnes of items from being sent to landfill.

[The NLWA is underspending. So put in resources, Clyde, that makes it 16,980 people.]

"Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of the North London Waste Authority, commented:
"There really is truth to the saying that one man's junk is another man's treasure! The Give and Take Days have proved a great success in getting people to think about whether someone else could provide a loving home for those 'classic' DVDs and CDs, those baby clothes the kids grew out of years ago, or the kitchen appliance you recently replaced.

It was great in these difficult economic times to see people coming together to help save each other a bit of money, while helping the environment by stopping such a large amount of perfectly usable items from being simply thrown away. We are especially thankful for the assistance of the 22 volunteers, who generously donated their time to help make the events a success."

"The Give & Take Days ran from 11am to 3pm. Visitors donated items they no longer needed between 11am and 12 noon, and then could take something they needed for free between 12 noon and 3pm. All electrical items donated were PAT-tested on the day, so that they could either be offered for re-use or recycled, as appropriate.

"Not only were the Give and Take Days a great day out for families, but some lucky residents also received the fantastic bonus of a £50 eco shopping voucher which they won after filling out a feedback form and entering a prize draw.

"The winners were:
  • Michelle Moor, who attended one of the Islington events, and said:  
    "Give and Take Days are a wonderful idea. They give everyone in the local community the opportunity to offer a new home to things they may no longer use/need, but are still useful to other people. It's a great feeling to help the environment and the community just that little bit more."
  • Shumi Ali, who attended the event at Hackney Wick Festival, and commented:  
    "My favourite part (of the day) was literally giving and receiving, and I also got some tips on reducing waste."
North London's seven borough councils got involved too, with officers attending events in their borough to provide information on council waste and recycling services and waste reduction advice.

"For further information on how you can donate your unwanted items for re-use or recycling, and for other tips on how to reduce your waste, visit the North London Waste Authority's website at"

Almost one million tonnes of waste is produced by households across the seven north London boroughs covered by the NLWA.

That’s a huge amount of waste which we need to dispose of. While recycling is a fantastic way to turn our rubbish into something useful again, preventing waste is even better. If we reduce the amount that we produce in the first place, and reuse things more than once, we also avoid the industrial processes involved in recycling, in turn reducing our carbon footprint.

Over the past three years, there has been a decline of about 4% in the amount of waste produced in north London. That’s great news, and demonstrates how residents are embracing the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’.

But we need to do more to make sure that by 2020 we are recycling 50% of household waste. [Why only 50% by 2020? 'Political will', Clyde, can drive that higher!]

Waste prevention plays a key role in sustainable waste management for:
  • Environmental reasons: household waste is merely the final evidence of consumption which entails environmental footprints which are rarely sustainable
  • Socio-economic reasons: production of waste appears to be the result of wasting natural resources and these resources are both limited and unequally distributed
  • Financial reasons: reducing the quantities of waste produced means it should be possible to reduce the budget required for the collection, transportation and treatment of waste products
  • Legal reasons: the European framework directive on waste requires national waste prevention programmes to be drawn up

The Waste Hierarchy has for some time provided the framework for managing waste locally, nationally, and at a European level, and has recently been updated in the 'Waste Framework Directive'. [It has also provided a pseudo-justification for building new-style incinerators, for use for the next thirty years.]

With your help, we plan to reduce rubbish in north London by up to 80,000 tonnes over the next two years. To find out how, please look at our Waste Prevention Plan. The plan sets out a series of specific actions required to deliver the strategic objectives for waste prevention, which are within the North London Joint Waste Strategy.

For more information about the composition of north London's waste, please see a copy of the Waste Composition Analysis Final Report.

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