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