Incinerating not recycling!

YGP views on the new Allerton incinerator – and Scottish Tories sympathise!

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, York Green Party group leader comments this week as the controversial new incinerator opens at Allerton Park just north off the A59/A1 junction.

“Including 5% additional recycling in the contract and converting the biogas to energy is good. However the process still causes climate change through Carbon Dioxide emissions and is an inefficient way of generating energy: waste heat is not currently used on site (could be used for market gardening, e.g. heating greenhouses!)

It would be more energy efficient for the bio-gas from the Anaerobic Digester to be either pumped directly into the gas grid to heat offices and homes (only 40% of energy produced reaches consumers as electricity), or the gas could be used to power the refuse vehicles (currently operating on polluting diesel ) CNG is used in Sweden to power buses and refuse trucks and could be here.”

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You might find this link from Waste Management World interesting, showing that other countries have far more energy efficient ways of using the bio-gas produced from Anaerobic Digestors!

The 25 year contract perpetuates the ‘linear economy’, destroying valuable materials that could be recycled into new products. Recycling reduces the need to make new disposable products from virgin materials.

As we cut down on single use plastics going into the waste stream (following ‘Blue Planet’ awareness) the contract will undermine the market for plastic recycling as we are committed to supply a minimum volume of combustible waste. In order to ensure toxic emissions are minimised, the technology is very expensive compared with home composting, re- use and recycling – this cost impacts on local council services for 25 years.”

Read the York Press articles here from 9th March when a reporter visits the site and Andy’s comments are reported and from 6th March announcing the new incinerator is open. And from a month ago when a Tory MSP spoke out against incinerators in Scotland: echoing the good sense of our own councillors here in York! Conservative Maurice Golden warned Scotland risks becoming the “ashtray of Europe” unless new incinerators are banned and called for a moratorium on new incineration plants across Scotland.

Speaking in a Holyrood debate on tackling plastic pollution, he said that by 2050 the litter in the sea will outweigh fish and praised proposals to tackle this such as developing alternative materials.

He added: “If we are going to do all the positive work that has been said around plastics and around this agenda it would be incongruous to then see Scotland be the ashtray of Europe.”

Waste Management – the YGP 2015 Manifesto – to be updated

We are totally opposed to the decision made by the Council in October to go ahead with the over-sized waste processing plant and incinerator at Allerton Park, as the junior partner with North Yorkshire County Council. We believe this will be disastrous for residents’ health, for a sustainable waste policy and in financial terms. We will

* Take advice on options for withdrawing from the hugely expensive contract with Amey Cespa or renegotiating the contract with appropriate small scale waste retrieval plants and no incinerator

* work towards a Zero Waste Strategy for the City of York drawing on best practice from around the country and abroad. For example San Francisco has a target of zero waste by 2020 without incineration. It has now topped 80% recovery of waste and is being followed by other US cities

A Zero Waste Strategy will include

  • very high targets for doorstep recycling with appropriate measures to make this possible. York’s residents are very keen to recycle but are often confused by lack of clear information and support from the Council
  • working with local communities, residents in flats and terraced streets and improving the service in alley-gated areas to make sure everyone can recycle as much as possible
  • the use of community competitions and door to door advice to increase recycling rates
  • small scale mechanical sorting and biological treatment to remove further recyclable materials from the remaining waste
  • working with public sector partners and local businesses to reduce waste production
  • encouragement of home composting and a mobile service for home chipping of woody material
  • the introduction of food waste collections and far more municipal composting
  • active promotion of modern re-useable nappy services
  • an increase in the number of small scale recycling sites around the city for a wide range of recyclables (for example at allotments and any new developments)
  • keeping the cost for collection of bulky household items down and encourage shared collections
  • prioritising some investment in re-use and repair policies
  • the creation of re-use centres at Hazel Court and other feasible locations. Complementing the Community Furniture Store these could include household goods, white goods, clothes, fabrics and other items, possibly run by a franchise as in other towns and cities
  • initiatives to increase the local demand for recycled products. We will ensure that the Council itself uses recycled products throughout all its functions including schools and other facilities and not just in Environmental Services!

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