Don’t Throw It All Away
Thom Dibdin surveys the facilities available in Scotland for recycling waste materials, and looks to a brighter, less wasteful future.
Paper. glass. aluminium. steel cans and some plastics can all be recycled. If the opinion polls are to be believed. we all want them to be recycled. The Government wants us to recycle them. as do the District Councils. Why then are we still dumping these valuable resources as refuse into increasingly overloaded landfill sites?
In our monetarist culture. the answer is ofcourse financial. ‘There‘s no point in you telling me that I‘m polluting the ground,’ says Bill Lamb. head ofcleansing for Glasgow District Council. ‘You‘ve got to come up with the cash. At the best estimates. 1 could lose £12,000 a year on recycling.‘
Recycling is labour-intensive, both for collecting and sorting rubbish. New equipment, incinerators and garbage wagons are needed. which can cope with the separated waste. But above all else there has to be a market for the recycled product.
Such arguments do not impress Friends ()fThe Earth (Scotland)‘s
recycling campaigner Sheena Phillips. ‘It is very important to get a market for what you are recycling,‘ she says, ‘but it is an easy excuse to say that something is not financially viable.‘
For aluminium and glass. finance is not a problem. Both are easy to clean and it is actually cheaper and more energy-efficient to produce them from recycled rather than raw materials. For paper the story is quite different, as there are not enough paper mills capable of using recycled newsprint. However, there are plans to turn the old steel mill at Gartcosh into a state-of-the-art recycled-paper mill. Once this opens in two-and-a-halfyears‘ time, things should improve greatly.
So instead of the recycling boom being led by the Councils, which are at the front end of rubbish collection, it has been left to organisations like Friends OfThe Earth (which uses voluntary labour to separate the paper it collects. thereby increasing its value) and commercial concerns
such as United Glass to make the
The bottle and paper banks which local politicians use to promote their Green credentials are actually owned by commercial companies. The council just provides the site. To be fair, finding sites for the bottle and paper banks is in itself a tricky business. They have to be where people will use them, they have to be accessible to the large wagons which remove the glass and paper, and they have to be easy to keep clean. For these reasons, car parks at large supermarkets are most popular.
Consumer desire to recycle is growing, if the amount ofpaper collected by Edinburgh District Council is indicative. John Doig. cleansing officer, says that since the paper-bank scheme started in July. over thirty tons of paper has been collected each week, saving over 600 trees.
But Sheena Phillips believes this is not enough. ‘An obvious next step
would be a move to house-to-house collections. The key difficulty of recycling from mixed waste is the business ofseperating it.‘ She points out that some countries already have modular waste collection, where rubbish is sorted by the householder into paper. glass, aluminium and so on.
This rather bleak picture of recycling in modern Scotland is not, however, the end of the matter. Tom Reed of Edinburgh University‘s Centre for Human Ecology has just completed two studies on the recycling prospects for Edinburgh and Glasgow. ‘In Edinburgh,’ he says, ‘collecting glass, newspaper and aluminium, a collection project could have an annual turnover of more than £500,000 and employ about twenty to thirty full-time staff, at proper wages.’ The figures can be doubled for Glasgow.
He believes that the future lies in an integrated waste management strategy. ‘What we need,‘ he continues, ‘is an integrated approach which embraces community enterprises, industry, voluntary organisations, local authorities and central government working together.‘
In the current political climate, this idea might seem Utopian. But it is a prerequisite if recycling is to extend beyond the basic stage ofglass. aluminium and paper to include CFCs in refrigerators and re-usable rather than recycleable containers. Currently only Bejam offers to take your old fridge and recycle the CFCs (and then only when you buy a new one), although other firms are likely to follow suit. [four consumer-led society is to come to terms with the depletion ofthe earth‘s finite resources, then we must all demand the maximum re-use ofsupposedly ‘waste‘ materials.
Bottle Bank Locauons GLASGOW
Asda Summerstoun. Western Avenue; Beechwood Restaurant Ardmay (‘rescentz Bellahouston Hotel Paisley Road West; Boswell Hotel Mansionhouse Road;
Broomhill Shopping Centre;
City Chambers George Square; Co-Op Maxwell Drive; Maryhill Road: Cue-Ball Flagship Anniesland; Dawsholme Depot Maryhill; Esquire Lounge Anniesland: Fine Fare Victoria Road; Ingram Hotel Ingram Street; Kings Park Hotel Mill Street. Rutherglen; Knightswood Shopping Centre; Leverndale
Hospital (‘rookston Road;
Napoleons Merrylee Road; Petershill F.C.
South Loch Street; Pomadie DistrictWorks; Pond Hotel Great Western Road; Princes Square Buchanan Street; Prospecthill Road Bowling Club; The Rock l lyndland Road; Shawlands Arcade Kilmarnock Road; Sun Inn Hamilton Road. (‘ambuslang; Tinto Furs Hotel Kilmarnock Road; Tuxedo Princess Anderston Quay.
Car parks at Ashton Road: Dundas Place; Garrowhill Drive; Gartcraig Road; Leslie Street/Kenmure Street; Maryhill
Road’l Iopehill Road; Shawbridge Street; Shields Road/St Andrews Drive.
Asda Jewel Road; Balcarres Street Cleansing Depot; Braehead Dumpsite
Dumpsite Old Dalkeith Road; Hibs Social Club Easter Road; Hilton Hotel Belford Road; Kirkgate Shopping Centre; Kirkliston Library Station Road: Wm Low Boswall Parkway: Miners' Welfare Club Drum Street; Portobello Town Hall; Safeway Cramond Road South; Glasgow
‘ Road: Maybury Drive; St
Leonards Car Park; Scotmid (‘hesser Avenue; Currie: South Queensferry; Sealield Dumpsite Fillyside Road: Tesco Dumbryden Road; University Charles Street Car Park; Wester Hailes Shopping Centre; Western General Hospital Crewe Road South.
GLASGOW No Paper Banks as yet.
but the Green Party and Friends OfThe Earth (Scotland) do a door-to-door collection on the first Thursday ofevery month in the llyndland district. (‘all 031 5565160
Southern Leith Walk; Saleway C ramond Road South; Glasgow Road; Maybury Drive; Piershill Terrace; Scotmid C hesscr Avenue; South Queensferry; Sealield
sufficient) Edinburgh. Involved in schools charity projects such as ‘The Can Man’.
Clyde Salvage Ltd 155 Waddell Street. 429 5373. Pay 45p/kilo. no minimum
for details. Dumpsite Fillysidc Road; quantity. Will collect 20 Maybank Scotland 37 Tesco Dumbrydcn Road; bags or more within Vermont SUCCL 429 5426 University Potter Row; Glasgow.
will collect large Wester Hailes Community East Kilbride Metals Ltd quantities of Paper. and Centre; Wester Hailes Station Yard. Wcstmans zttcccpt smaller amounts at Shopping Centre. Road. 03552 442 412. Pay t eir premises. Mon—Sat. . ' ' 6( /kilo. minimum EDINBURGH l AlumIn|um qtigntity 10 kilos. Will Ainslie Park Leisure Centre I Buyers collect very large
Pilton DrivezAsoa Jewel GLASGOW quantities, by negotiation.
Road; eraehead Dumpsite ('raigs Road; Craigmillar
City Reclamation Ltd Unit B. Rosebank Buildings.
Donald Smith a Son Ltd 84 Firhill Road. 946 5287.
Dumpsite ()ld Dalkeith 12 Somcrvmc Street. 641 Pay around 30p/kilo. no Road; Curriehill Primary 9271 . Crushed. empty mm'mum quant'ty: .w‘" school Lanark Road cans bought (minimum collect large quantities. West; Dmmmond quantity one bin-bag) for EDINBURGH
community Comte around 40p/kilo (rate William Waugh Granton Cochran Terrace; ﬂuctuates); will also High Coeds Yard' west
Kirkllston Library Station Road; Wm Low Boswall Parkway; Magnet a
collect (minimum quantity 10 bags) from
Harbour Road. 552 5559. Pay 50p/kilo. no minimum quantity. Collection
(‘raigs Road; Craigmillar Glasgow or (ifquantity is l I ; negotiable.
78 The List 10— 23 November 1989