January’s Waste Thoughts – 2022

Individuals raised a number of issues which had crossed our paths recently:


Just read “Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson – fiction looking back from decades in the future once the climate crisis is finally addressed, but only after things have turned chaotic.  Plan to review, for others but disturbing / thought provoking, the book highlights the way in which voters are distracted by other issues (i.e. BBC reform) such that climate issues don’t get fully addressed by governments.
Consumption – government stuck to GDP, but in fact as Mark Carney (ex-Bank of England Governor) has made clear, neo-libralist capitalism is not a natural law, can / should be adapted / adjusted as the world changes.  There are signs that the UK government is feeling its way to changing this with publications and draft regulations – HMG Resources White Paper goes in this direciton – basically whole material cycle should be governed for material efficiency not just profit (circular economy), but currently any legislation is industry led and is negated in the case of conflict existing contracts.  Another area where the discussion papers looked promising was the replacement agricultural payments to farmers / land owners – ELMS (Enviromental land management schemes) – which were going to reward farmers for more than just maximum agricultural output, being in 3 areas – Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery, Landscape Recovery.  However it now appears that ELMS as implemented in pilots in 2022 is aimed at large farmers at least 500 Hectares (more than 1000 Acres), with the scheme not launching until 2024.  Will be interesting to know what farmers think of it, perhaps when Petch talks to CASaV later in the year.
What is now part of the commons – historically we shared a lot of things the most well understood being the commons where people were able to graze their cattle, walk, play etc., but equally a village bread oven etc.,  how much can be bring this back in a 21st century way with share sheds, as things like creative commons are doing in the digital sphere with non-copyrighted resources being created.  Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

It is interesting how the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” has had very negative reviews from various media outlets, the film is a satirical comedy and as such not exactly subtle in the message it has, but many parts are all too believable.  Politicians ignoring the important because they are trying to sort out party politics or score points over a competitor, if you look at the UK Net Zero Strategy in details then you will see than much of the savings are going to be delivered technologies that are currently little more than investment raising projects for industry, as the alternative would be ask people to confront the problems.  So don’t look at the issues, but do look at the new shiny thing which will make it all alright.  Hydrogen is a new shing thing which is going to deliver a lot of the UK’s carbon saving, but while hydrogen is important, it can’t do everything, it takes energy and money to create, doesn’t just come out of the ground, so it will have a real cost and at the scale / by the routes suggested by the Net Zero Strategy will be keep us tied to the global energy roller coaster we are struggling with now.

Matters arising

Reviewing Waste in 2021
The focus was on recycling with local progress being made through initiatives such as the Coop Soft PlasticsCoop Foodshare and building on local recycling routes with information on the CASaV website.  Soft Plastic recycling has now been implemented or at least being talked about by all the other major supermarkets (Tesco,SainsburysAldiMorrisonsLidlM&S,..), so while a bit of a sticking plaster it is great that for all own brand Coop soft plastics packaging Coop guarantee they will be recycled, even if other producers soft plastics may still be burnt for energy.  Coop foodshare has resulted in surplus food from all the local Coops being taken most evenings to help people both locally and in Middlesbrough, once again an imperfect system but made effective by the tireless work of those who have been collecting the food.

We hope to continue with these initiatives in 2022 more soft plastics recycling, less Coop food to waste and more information about where you can recycle locally.

Rethinking waste in 2022
In 2022 the focus for the Waste Group is going to be on steps to reduce waste.  While Zero plastic / Zero packaging seem to be impractical in many ways, the thought process behind it and the practicalities in terms of things like the “Only Weight Out” really highlight how unsustainable a lot of our materials’ culture is at present.  For example wood based brushes with natural bristles can just rot at end of life whereas plastic brushes have to be managed at end of life as they will remain in landfill almost forever, safety razor blades can be fully recycled as metal whereas razor cartridges contain multiple materials and so can not even be easily recycled.  

What can CASaV do to drive down the generation of waste?  As pointed out in this article on the “One Little Step Blog” about soft plastic recycling the ultimate solution is not producing, supplying, using, buying.  I really Wiliam Morris’s maxim “have nothing in your house which is not useful or beautiful” – packaging can be useful, but much of the packaging we get is not useful to us, it is useful to the manufacturer to run their process or to the brand owner to make us buy it, but we then end up these materials in our homes, the system is not fit for purpose, certainly not environmentally fit being driven instead by corporate economics often no societal economics even.

We started to investigate the practicalities of running local Repair Cafes and Share Shed in 2021, so hope to start these in 2022 – watch this space for more info.  The Hovingham Project Purple provides a good model – Repair Cafe and Virtual Share Shed – https://www.project-purple.org.uk/what-we-do.

Repair Cafe – a number of Labman employees are interested in volunteering their skills; Swainby – approaching local WI to seek volunteers and local electrician for advice; Stokesley Engineers asked whether they are interested.

Share Shed – potentially a single CASaV Virtual Share Shed – just a matter of putting pictures / few details of items on CASaV website with automatic email templates on which borrowers provide their information.

How do we increase use of Freecycle etc., Frade.  Approach – most efficient – advertise local things: Toy libraries for example.

Another possibility would be “A Give or Take Day” as run by the Helmsley Green Team – details in the attached document – “Helmsley Green Team – Give or Take Day – Toolkit.pdf”.  No cash changes hands, no swapping, just getting rid of stuff you don’t want and somebody else could use or getting stuff you will use that somebody else doesn’t use anymore – everything from books to furniture.

Should we be encouraging individual pledges – to reduce personal consumption?

Fit with UK Net Zero Strategy, hopefully through 2022 more of the details of the strategy will become clear and as such opportunities to reduce waste will emerge.

Stokesley Show
Will happen on 17th September 2022, in 2021 CASaV volunteered to help with recycling, but the show never went ahead due to Covid, so we never planned what we would actually do.

Why are CASaV doing this?  Help show to manage waste as sustainably as possible.  Plus it will raise the profile of CASaV and give us the opportunity to engage with more people locally.

In 2022 could we be more ambitious by  “Greening” Stokesley Show – what are the organisers already doing?  What will the organisers let us do?  What will the organisers want to do?  What are we doing?  CASaV Stand –  engage with farmers how? Through committee; Engage with stall holders – reduce packaging / food waste / no plastic bits and pieces etc..  Engage with farm equipment firms – do they have green stories to tell us? Clean up recycling.  Green Zone / Show – Vegan food stalls?  Dramatic demonstrations / Making things from waste / Repair cafe

Timeline: raise at CASaV January Meeting; contact about CASaV stall / Zone?  What do other sub-groups want to do?  Swishing – Clothes swap shop
January approach organising committee: Direct; Simon – Neal Waters; Pete – Tom Seymour; NFU connection.

Involve green charities: YWT / RSPCA / RSPB / …..

Waste: Waste contractor – Find out what they are doing; Stall Holders / Exhibitors – needs / reduction; set up team – Manure – Pete :-)?

Plan to visit / meeting at the Energy to Waste / Recycling Centre Allerton Park
The plan had been to have a visit / meeting at Allerton Park in January, but with current Covid situation we are back to watch this space, however as 26th January is being touted as freedom day we may be in a better place to assess in February.

Recent online meetings: none mentioned

HDC Net Zero actions – keen to engage with local groups, meeting later in month will investigate if waste actions are possible.
Solar for Schools – Pete has drafted a letter to Simon Quartermain Diocese Property Manager on behalf of Carlton School, will await response.

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