Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Waste, Recycling and Freecycling

Battles are ongoing around the country against the current wave of local government waste contracts that are handing over vast sums to multinational waste companies to run incinerators and cap recycling targets at unambitious levels. At the EU level Greens had a minor victory in curbing some of the worst excesses of EU policy on this issue last week. The MEPs tackled the industry lobby-fed move to re-brand incineration head on. The "Energy From Waste" and "Energy Recovery" rhetoric is just greenwash to protect the profits of the incineration industry. As South East England Green MEP Caroline Lucas said :

"The decision by MEPs to reject an amendment which would have reclassified waste incineration is an important step for the environment too: re-branding incineration as a means of recovery rather than waste disposal could create the impression that burning our rubbish is environmentally-friendly, which it clearly is not. "

A particularly toxic part of the waste stream in Europe is office equipment and computers. Thanks to James Eagle in his Wired Column in the Morning Star for directing us to this site - which lists and links UK computer recyclers and refurbishers. Hopefully this is a way to avoid the recently publicised export of used and redundant computers etc to China and other countries where environmental standards are not as strong as in the UK.

James also pointed us to another site that is home to an increasingly popular way of disposing of unwanted items - particularly electrical items etc which charity shops and the like will not accept - Freecycling is a bit like e-bay without the money element.

To quote the UK freecycling site -

Freecycle groups are run by locally based volunteer moderators.

The first UK Freecycle group was set up in London in Oct 2003. There are now 401 groups spread across the country, with 571,444 members!

Now that is progress!

Here is Friends Of The Earth's webpage of waste related links.

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