News in brief (02/07/21)

With news on: Veolia defends cutting grass at Rainham landfill; WRA pushes ‘value’ of waste wood biomass; Bristol fly-tipper caught on CCTV; and, drink cans recycling campaign ‘reaches four million people’.

Every Can Counts' campaign saw a rainbow installation made from more than 2,500 recycled drink cans set up in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester

Veolia defends cutting grass at Rainham landfill

Veolia has defended its decision to cut the grass at the Rainham landfill site in Essex, despite the RSPB saying the work was done at a time of year when rare birds were nesting.

The site accepts 1,700,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste per year. It is located to the west of Rainham Marshes, which since 2006 has been an RSPB nature reserve.

On 25 June, an RSPB spokesperson told letsrecycle.com: “Veolia did not discuss this work with RSPB and we are very disappointed that they have done the work at this time of year when birds are nesting.

“We will be raising our concerns with Veolia directly and will work towards trying to make sure they don’t do this again.”

The Metropolitan Police told letsrecycle.com they were aware of a “potential breach” of the Wildlife and Countryside Act [1981] at a site in Rainham and were looking to establish whether any offences had been committed.

A Veolia spokesperson said: “The Veolia Rainham landfill is an operational site and as part of our preparation for upcoming engineering works and in order to mitigate the risk of fire, we need to cut the grass before we begin work.

“This section of our site is approximately seven hectares and we have minimised the area within it which has been cut. The landfill site at Rainham is 177 hectares overall with the majority not having the grass cut at all, allowing for nesting birds and other wildlife species to thrive.”


WRA pushes ‘value’ of waste wood biomass

The Wood Recyclers’ Association this week (30 June) urged the government to recognise waste wood biomass’s “value” in helping the UK decarbonise in its forthcoming business strategy.

In its response to a BEIS call for evidence, the WRA said there was a limit to the amount of times wood could be “effectively recycled”, adding that it “made sense” that the wood was then recovered as biomass fuel rather than going to landfill.

Recycling
The WRA said the UK currently produces around 4.5 million tonnes of waste wood a year, for which there is an “equal end use demand”

A BEIS strategy for biomass will be in place from 2022 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Richard Coulson, chair of the WRA, said: “The UK is now a success story in respect of waste wood. We can respect the demands of the waste hierarchy of reuse, recycle then recover, and also satisfy all end user demand because we have the capacity to divert all waste wood from landfill, saving the methane emissions which are circa 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.”

The WRA also asked the government to ensure that its environmental and energy policies were “aligned”, following the publication of Defra’s Waste Management Plan for England in January this year (see letsrecycle.com story).

The Plan suggested so-called ‘energy recovery’ was less favourable than recycling, which Mr Coulson said was not the case for waste wood.


Bristol fly-tipper caught on CCTV

A man from Bristol has been prosecuted for fly-tipping waste in Avonmouth after being caught on CCTV, the Environment Agency said yesterday (30 June).

Owen Crumlish, 41, of Green Close, Bristol, pleaded guilty to dumping waste on open ground near Severn Beach on 28 June 2019. He was fined £498 plus £250 in costs.

Recycling
The Environment Agency said it had secured CCTV footage of two men using a vehicle to dump waste (picture: Environment Agency)

The Agency said it had been investigating several reports of fly-tipping in the area and secured CCTV footage of two men using a vehicle to dump waste.

The registered owner of the vehicle was recorded as ‘Leo Feel’, the Agency said, which turned out to be a fake identity.

With the licence details known, police stopped the vehicle when it was next sighted, and Mr Crumlish confirmed his identity.

At Bristol Magistrates Court on 14 June, Mr Crumlish pleaded guilty to one charge of depositing controlled waste without an environmental permit on 28 June 2019, contrary to section 33(1)(a) and (6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Agency officer Stephanie Marriott said: “The landowner who was the victim of this fly-tipping has cleared the land at their own expense but taken necessary steps to prevent them from being targeted by waste criminals again.”


Drink cans recycling campaign ‘reaches four million people’

Every Can Counts says its first-ever ‘on-the-go’ campaign communicated the value of drink cans recycling to more than four million people in 15 countries across Europe on 5 June.

More than 100 ambassadors for the drinks can recycling initiative visited parks and urban areas in 19 European locations.

Recycling
Every Can Counts’ campaign saw a rainbow installation made from more than 2,500 recycled drink cans set up in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester (picture: Every Can Counts)

The campaign also saw interactive games, competitions and installations, including a rainbow installation in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Measuring four metres high and seven metres wide, the arch was made from more than 2,500 recycled drink cans.

Partnerships with local authorities, “eco-conscious influencers” and popular drink brands helped generate extra attention for the campaign, Every Can Counts said, which reached more than four million people in the field and online.

David Van Heuverswyn, director of Every Can Counts Europe, said: “This visually impressive activation across Europe delivered a strong message about people acting in unison when it comes to achieving a truly circular economy.”

Founded in the UK in 2009, the Every Can Counts initiative promotes drinks can recycling in 19 countries across Europe.

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