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Council to Consider Sustainable Waste Strategy for Highland
HIGHLAND needs a waste management solution that is Sustainable, Affordable, Friendly to the environment and Efficient (SAFE).
Thousands of tonnes of waste are produced in Highland every year, a large proportion of which currently ends up in landfill.
The vast majority of waste is from households.
The Council handles some 140,000 tonnes or waste per annum, and around 57,000 tonnes of this material is currently re-used, recycled or recovered from kerbside collections from households and businesses, as well as from Recycling Centres and Points.
However, around 83,000 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste is sent to landfill at a cost of approximately £11 million a year.
“This is simply not sustainable,” says Councillor Allan Henderson who chairs the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee.
“It is not sustainable for all kinds of reasons.
“Long gone are the days it was ok to just bury our waste out of sight and allow future generations to deal with the consequences.
“As a society, we consume too much, we waste too much and our environment is suffering as a consequence.
“We need to find better, safer, more efficient, and innovative ways of dealing with the vast quantities of waste we produce.
“Another major reason for us to closely consider our future waste strategy, is that from 1 January 2021, it will simply no longer be possible to landfill biodegradable municipal waste due to changes in legislation.
“The aims of this ban are to promote waste being regarded as a commodity or resource, maximise reuse and recycling, and stimulate a circular economy.
“The ban will also reduce the amount of methane being produced by landfill sites.
“Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more powerful than CO2.
“Failure to address the ban on landfilling waste is a significant risk for the Council.
“Urgent action is now required and doing nothing is not an option.”
Councillor Jimmy Gray, the Administration’s Environmental Spokesperson, added:
“Our strategy needs to go beyond finding a clean and efficient way of re-using our waste.
“We also need to promote a massive culture change – to change people’s behaviour and attitudes to waste and litter.
“We need the support of everyone, as individuals, families, businesses and communities, to ensure that we in the Highlands set an example for the rest of Scotland to follow.
“People from all over the world come to the Highlands for beautiful landscape, for our wonderful, rivers, lochs and seascapes.
“Let’s prove to all our visitors we truly value our inheritance by making this the cleanest place they have ever visited.”
On Thursday 17 May 2018, the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee will be asked to consider recommendations in a report.
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