Monday 29 December 2008

Mid Xmas Break

29th December and the first of the runs to the Household Waste recycling centre at Wellbeck done. Just amazing how much wrapping paper we as a family have gone through this year and not a sign of any recycled wrapping paper anywhere? Why is that? Is there anyone out there actually doing recycled wrapping paper?

We didnt send anywhere near the amount of cards this year and those that we did were on recycled card and those that we have received we will take to one of the many recycling centres throughout Wakefield.

Still washing out all the food cans and containers but still unsure with some of the plastics that can or cannot be recycled but we are getting better at it. Still New Years Eve to come so no doubt another visit to Wellbeck for us later in the week with the bottles and cans given the box is already pretty full and I do not want to use plastic bags for the excess.

Reduction of household plastics is still ongoing but it does not get any easier and this xmas seems to have generated more not less so there is a real need to get manufacturers to change their packaging systems if any progress is to be made.

Monday 15 December 2008

Being 'Green' at Christamas

Eating, giving presents and having fun are all part of this time of year so I am urging everyone to think about the environment and make recycling part of their new year’s resolution list.

In the UK this xmas we are expecting to see an extra three million tonnes of waste from food and drink packaging, Christmas trees, Christmas cards and maybe even a few unwanted presents. All this waste has to go somewhere and if it is not recycled most of this district’s rubbish will end up in the Welbeck landfill site near Normanton.

Statistics from the national "Recycle Now" campaign show that one billion Christmas cards could end up in bins, most Christmas trees will be thrown away generating over 160,000 tonnes of additional rubbish - 21 times the weight of the Eiffel tower. Nationally an extra 750 million bottles and 500 million drink cans will also be used and most of these will just be thrown away.

To help reduce this and make the district a better place to live in, I am asking you to think about our 4 'R's, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and also to compost your garden waste.

Do your bit by: Recycling cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard and glass bottles as part of your bin collections or at one of Wakefields 62 mini recycling centres or one of your local Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Make a New Year’s resolution to recycle more waste, more often or better still, try to reduce, reuse or compost your waste.

Marry Xmas and A Happy and Greener New Year

Monday 8 December 2008

One Year On

October 2008 saw the last of the district’s 140,000 households added to the new collection scheme which encourages everyone to recycle more and do their bit for the environment.

The new collections however started with a pilot area in November 2007 when there was a 95% take-up of the new services and recycling targets were easily exceeded for phase one. The Council then used its experiences in phase one to start rolling-out the scheme across the rest of the district in three more phases and is now seeing an increase in recycling across the district.

The new weekly bin collections are proving a huge success with less rubbish going to landfill and more people thinking about what they do with their waste. The teams have reported an excellent take up on the new service and everyone concerned are absolutely delighted that so many households have got on board with the scheme so quickly and I would personally like to thank everyone for their support.

We are working very hard to make the district a more attractive place to live, work and visit and this scheme means everyone has a role to play in making their environment cleaner and greener.

My house was in the last phase of the roll-out and it has gone fairly smoothly thanks to lessons-learnt in the pilot and stages two and three. It has certainly made my family and I look more closely at the packaging around what we buy and try to cut down on non-recyclables such as plastic and I hope it will encourage others to do the same.”

The district is on track to meet or exceed the government’s 40% target by 2010 and every household on the normal collection rounds now receives a household waste and garden waste collection one week, and a collection of paper, cardboard, glass bottles, cans and plastic bottles for recycling the next.

Monday 1 December 2008

New Beginnings

At the Planning Committee held on the 27th November 2008 plans were passed for the new Municipal Waste Re-cycling Facility which will be built on the old South Kirkby colliery site and marks the beginning of what will be ground breaking achievements for Wakefield District Council and its re-cycling rates in the future.

With modern high tech. plant and methods we can look forward to achieving re-cycling rates far in excess of the government targets that are currently being set and therefore reduce the amount of waste we, the public of Wakefield will be sending to landfill.

We are also looking to bring in to the district manufacturers who will use the re-cycled material at source so that we can further reduce our overall carbon footprint.

Today is the day when the Hudson household starts the 'reducing plastic' trial. We aim to reduce as much plastic coming into the house as is possible at this time and any ideas that people have or tried would be most welcome. Email me

Friday 21 November 2008

Idea's and Changes to life style

Only 10 days to go now to the big experiment of reducing to a minimum plastics being bought and used within the house.

Re-sealable bags are on their way out and the use of lidded containers with be used instead so the take aways bought by the kids can be useful after all. Margarine tubs, again are now cleaned out and will be used again. A former colleague of mine here at the council recently sent me a message to say he now buys things in the largest container available and decants into smaller re-usable containers to save not only on money but plastics at the same time.

Using that idea we have decided to clear out some space in the garage which is not heated and use it as a very large pantry. Catering packs, large containers of many of our regular consumables are going to be bought and stored and decanted as and when required.

Another big change I have recently made was to change my car from petrol to a very efficient diesel engine which has seen me reducing my emissions by 55% and I have also seen a reduction in fuel consumption of 45% per month so not only is it good for reducing my carbon footprint but its been good for my wallet as well.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Climate Change and Waste Recycling

Friday the 14th was a very busy day in my calendar as I presented a 15 minute presentation on the councils position on 'Climate Change' and what our intentions for change are for the next 30 years. The audience were senior elected members and senior officers from the five West Yorkshire Authorities. The West Yorkshire Academy on Climate Change is a three part series of seminars to bring together the five authorities to share experiences and good practice and to look for ways that we can all work together to achieve our combined aims for the future.

This was part two and besides myself there were presentations from Kirklees and an officer from ARUP. Workshop sessions followed in our respective organisation groups to look at what we were all doing and what were the challengers being faced. All the groups came back with similar answers on the challengers that need to be addressed, namely:

The answer was also pretty clear from all five authorities. We HAVE to work together and pool resources especially around research with each authority putting small amounts of monies into their local University on their own issues rather than pooling that money and doing more in depth research.

In the afternoon I was back in Wakefield for a project board meeting for the proposed new Household waste recycling centre. The planning application is in the system and will be heard on the 27th November and with a favourable result we will then be able to move on to the next stage and sign the agreement with VTEE and start to see the plant coming together.

I also received the latest position with our alternate weekly collection service roll out of phase four with some very good early results showing a recycling rate of 43% in the first three weeks and some 1200 tonnes of material being diverted from landfill. Thanks to everyone for their efforts and long may it continue.

Friday 7 November 2008

Week Three (Another near miss)

Second time around for the box and paper bin and again we nearly forgot to get them out ready for the collection. We clearly must start to ensure they are put out the night before as we are obviously very early on in the round.

One thing that has struck me since going on to the new collection service and having the plastics/glass etc. box is how much plastic we use in the house and so we (that's the royal we) have decided that as from 1st December we are going to try and cut out as much plastic as possible. This, when you first think about it, seems easy enough but one look in the fridge and you realise it is not as simple as first thought.

Margarine in a plastic tub. Sandwich fillings in a plastic tub. Cooked meats in plastic. Soft drinks and cordials in plastic bottles. Cheese covered in a plastic wrapper. Ketchup and sauces in plastic bottles, pasties and scotch eggs in plastic even the bread is now encased in plastic, and these are just the items from the kitchen. When we looked in the bathroom there are numerous (two women in the house) bottles, potions and lotions, you name it we have it including toothpaste in a plastic bottle.

You should have seen the look on the kids faces when I said what we were going to try next. In fact Andy said it would be easier for him just to move out until January but then he was reminded that Christmas and presents were in there somewhere so he is going to bite the bullit and try.

Well that's the next objective if anyone has any bright ideas of how I get round some of the problems I am going to face then drop me an email at

Friday 31 October 2008

Week two and going well

Week two and a change of bins to go out with it being green waste and residual waste this week.

Quite surprised at the amount of waste in the residual bin as we have four adults in the house plus the kids boyfriend and girlfriend and there was still less than 3/4 of the bin filled even after two weeks.

Now looking at ways to reduce the actual amount of plastics we bring into the house in the way of soft drinks etc. but its not as easy here as it is in the States where you can take your old bottles back and get them refilled at the supermarket. Cans are OK but it does make it a lot more expensive especially with a couple of soft drink sponges like I have in the house.

Also looking at packaging in general and we have now stopped using plastic bags from the supermarket completely with fair trade hessian bags now called into use for the weekly shop. The only concession to this is if we shop online and have it delivered but even then we send the bags back to the supermarket.

Friday 24 October 2008

Adam Barry Watene

Last night my family and I had the opportunity to say our public farewells to a very close and dear friend Adam 'Uncle Baza' Watene. A giant of a man with a heart of gold who was taken from us at the early age of 31.

We came to know Adam when he first came over to the UK to play for the Castleford Tigers and did so having to leave behind in Australia his much loved Moana and the two children, Arana and Ena. You could see from the first time you saw him play he had a determination about him to succeed at all costs when he was on the field but off it he was a gentle giant of a man who always had time for anyone who wanted a chat or an autograph but would always shy away from the media spotlight.

Five months after arriving in the UK he was finally re-united with his beloved family and Adam became much happier with home life and that all too familiar wide toothy smile of his was everywhere and infectious. His family became part of my family and we enjoyed many happy hours together with BBQs, dining out and watching rugby always high on the priority list but also inlcuded a large family holiday in Tenerife when his dad Barry(Pops) joined us from New Zealand.

I cannot begin to explain the size of the loss my family feel now that Adam has been taken from us especially as Moana, Arana and Ena have returned to New Zealand for the funeral and we have no idea when we will see Mo's bright shinny face, watch Arana play rugby or listen to the little angel that is Ena laugh and giggle again. We do hope it's soon but they will always have a place in the hearts and minds of Heather, Andy, Jenna and myself here in England.


First Day

Well today was our first day on the new alternate collection round and we nearly missed it.

The alarm went off as normal to get ready for work when we heard the refuse trucks coming down the avenue and realised we had not put out the paper bin or the plastics/glass box. I have to say it is a little noisier when the box is being emptied in relation to a normal bin collection but I can put up with that knowing we are increasing recycling in Wakefield.

I do hope everyone else on phase 4 had less of an issue with having their bins and boxes out for collection on time and that all households in Wakefield can now say they are now doing their bit for the environment.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

New Alternate Weekly Collection

Me and the family now eagerly await the start up of the new collection service in the Altofts area and although we have been recycling paper and green waste for some time this will give us the opportunity to start and recycle cans, glass and plastics from the doorstep.

One major change I am going to implement in the house is the removal of all waste bins in the house so that we all get used to the idea of seperating out the recyclable material straight away and do not have to go 'fishing' about in the waste bins prior to it going in the main household wheelie bins.

Friday 3 October 2008

First time for everything

Well...this is my first ever online diary so bare with me while I stumble along.

Some of you who already know me will already have a good idea of how I think so this diary will come as no surprise. I'm an avid supporter of everyone taking responsibility for their environment and think all citizens should take pride in their communities.

I'm currently championing a campaign in the district to show people what the effect of littering and fly-tipping has - namely - the £4m spent every year on clearing up other people's mess could be spent on providing beautiful public spaces and things to do.

So join in and say no to litter - take pride in your community and stop throwing your money away!