News in brief (10/01/20)

With news on: Tubex starts recycling tree shelters; FCC Environment launches reuse strategy; suspended sentence for Oldham skip firm director; green bin collections return to Cambridge; and, Coventry hits back at Unite’s pay claims.

Tubex starts recycling tree shelters

UK-based manufacturer of tree shelter solutions Tubex has launched its 2021 report card, noting that more than 6.5 million trees were protected by its shelters during the 2020/2021 planting season.

The report card also explains that the company, which is part of the Berry Global group, has launched what is believed to the first recycling scheme for the shelters, which protect the base of newly planted trees.

Tubex tree shelters in use; a recycling scheme is being developed

Tubex says that more than 15,000 tree shelters were collected during 45 collections in its first full year of operations, representing 21 tonnes of material being made into new shelters.

In 2022, Tubex says it expects to protect more than seven million new saplings before the 2021/2022 planting season draws to a close.

In terms of product, the company aims for 50% recycled content in tits tree shelter portfolio by the end of 2022, and there are plans to launch a biodegradable zip tie.

Rhauan Young, Commercial Sales Leader for Tubex said ahead of the New Year: “Looking toward 2022, we know that we’ll be working hand-in-glove with our customers to develop new ways to help nurture the trees of tomorrow, and have already set ourselves the target of ensuring our tree shelters will be made from a minimum of 50% recycled content in time for the next planting season.”

FCC Environment launches reuse strategy

Waste management company FCC Environment today (10 January) launched a reuse strategy dubbed ‘Hitting Targets, Enhancing Lives’.

FCC Environment says it is keen to build on its experience to drive greater reuse by growing its network of shops and exploring the potential for popup shops, tool hire, repair cafés or e-commerce.

A view inside FCC Environment’s re-use shop at the Foxhall Recycling Centre, Ipswich

Julie Fourcade, FCC Environment’s head of external affairs, said: “Reuse sits under ‘reduce’ at the top of the waste hierarchy, so it is extremely important that as one of the UK’s largest waste management companies, we make it as easy as possible for the public to reuse items.”

FCC Environment’s reuse shops are run by charities, and the company says the funds it raises via the sale of reused items “fund services for those who need them”.

The company also donates salvaged bikes to several prisons. Inmates learn to restore the bikes, which are then sold to raise money for local charities.

Ms Fourcade added: “Through our reuse shops, not only have we been able to meet the demands of the waste hierarchy, but we have also been able to bring value to some of the most marginalised in our communities.”

Suspended sentence for Oldham skip firm director

The director of an Oldham-based skip hire company has been handed a suspended sentence and ordered to pay more than £8,000 for the illegal storage and treatment of approximately 6,000 cubic metres of waste.

According to a statement from the Environment Agency, Evran Connell, 54, the director of CK Waste Ltd, was handed the sentence after a court hearing on Friday (7 January).

The Environment Agency said Environment Agency it welcomed the result of this prosecution for the offences committed by Mr Connell

The Agency statement explained that the regulator brought the case against Mr Connell “when he allowed an environmental offence to occur”.

Mr Connell, according to the Agency, was issued with an enforcement notice as “excessive” piled waste posed a serious fire risk after being stored for too long.

Following the notice, Mr Connell failed to take steps to reduce the piled waste on site and failed to provide a fire prevention plan, the Agency says.

Mr Connell was sentenced to 22 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £8,132.45 and a victim surcharge of £115.

He was also disqualified from being a director of a company for three years.

Green bin collections return to Cambridge

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service has asked Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire residents to put their green bins out as normal from 12 January.

Cambridge paused green bin collections on 13 December due to staff shortages stemming from Covid-related reasons, along with a continued national shortage of HGV drivers.

Cambridge paused green bin collections on 13 December due to staff shortages (picture: Shutterstock)

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service also said there was a lack of agency staff because of demand for them elsewhere in supermarkets and at online delivery services.

As green bin collections restart, residents have been asked to put them out on their published collection days.

However, any green bins that are missed will not be emptied until the next scheduled collection in February, despite an ongoing recruitment campaign.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre at Cambridge city council, said: “Our initial aim was to restart green bin collections in January, and I’m pleased that we are able to do this.

“But there is a note of caution that, although our crews will clearly be trying their very best to empty every green bin on the schedule, due to short-notice absences of staff related to Covid-19 there is a chance this may not be possible.”

Coventry hits back at Unite’s pay claims

Coventry city council has hit back at claims made by the trade union Unite regarding the ongoing strike action.

Unite carried out a 48-hour strike due to a dispute over pay and Christmas working from 5 January, while there will be a further four days of strike action from tomorrow (see story).

The dispute between Coventry city council and Unite relates to pay and Christmas working (picture: Shutterstock)

Among other claims, Unite said bin lorry drivers in Coventry earn “as little as £22,183 a year.”

However, the council says that during the last 12 months the lowest paid driver took home £28,148, with the highest earner receiving £52,163.

Coventry also said that as a “responsible employer” it “took exception” to Unite’s claim that drivers were on “poverty pay rates”.

In a statement, the council said: “Once again, we are forced to correct blatant inaccuracies published by the union Unite regarding the ongoing talks to try and stop the strike action they have organised.

“While we do not want to get into a public war of words, failing to challenge the falsehoods they are continuing to present runs the risk of people believing them.”

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