Recycling should be the last resort and throwing things away should never happen, senior Green Party politician Will Duckworth has told delegates at letsrecycle.com’s Zero Waste Awards recognition luncheon.
Speaking at the event in Coventry, Cllr Duckworth, who is deputy leader of the Green Party and a councillor on Dudley metropolitan borough council, told the audience: “I just wanted to share something with you, I don’t like recycling.
“Now, that’s not to say I think people should throw things away. It’s that recycling should be the last resort and throwing things away should never happen.”
Stressing the need for waste minimisation, Cllr Duckworth went on to argue in favour of the return of a deposit system and reuse of containers and for a rethink of economic growth and the consequent increase in waste.
On deposit systems, he argued: “Recycling should be almost the last resort for packaging…the older system, similar to many still used to good effect across Europe, is better than the one in place today. After all, collecting, washing and re-filling bottles on a large scale is better than smashing them and turning them into new ones and miles better than dumping old ones and making new ones from scratch.”
And, turning to economic growth, he noted: “When we talk about waste, there is something very serious hovering in the background, and it has to do with a political and economic buzzword, growth. Now, at first, the word growth seems to be positive: plants grow, and that’s a good thing; animals grow, and that’s a good thing too. And economics grow, and surely that’s a good thing too?
“Except that at the moment we are told the UK economy is growing, yet times are still hard for individuals, for businesses, for families, for everyone it seems, except those few who already owned multi-million pound London properties.”
Cllr Duckworth went on to call for a strategic re-think, to get back to why an economy is important so that everyone can benefit from what is produced.
“And included in that is that if we change our economy, if we make use of what already exists, we produce less waste.”
He concluded by calling for more repair of products saying that while creating new products created jobs, “jobs are also created by repairing things…reduce, repair, reuse, and only then if you have to, recycle.”