News in brief (23/02/23)

With news on: West Devon to increase garden waste charge; Wales funds inhaler recycling; MP visits Fife biomass plant; and, Beddington community fund redistributes nearly £500,000.

West Devon to increase garden waste charge

West Devon borough council has announced that its councillors have agreed to a price increase for the borough’s garden waste subscription service “to cover rising costs”.

The local authority said that the increase in the annual price of the service was agreed at this week’s council meeting, taking it up from £40 to £52 as of April.

The council said the increase in the price of garden waste subscription is to cover the service delivery costs

It explained that the increase was proposed as part of the council’s draft budget and has been made “to cover the increasing cost” of running the service. This is due to issues such as rising fuel and energy prices, the council added, noting that the increase is a first in six years.

Cllr Lucy Wood, lead member for natural environment, commented: “The fee for our garden waste subscription service has remained the same since 2017. In that time there have been significant inflationary costs, such as fuel and wage costs.”

Cllr Wood concluded that the increase in annual price for the subscription “would largely bring the council in line with what neighbouring authorities charge across the county for their garden waste collection services”.

Wales funds inhaler recycling

The Welsh government has said it is to provide £800,000 of funding to pilot the responsible disposal of inhalers containing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases.

The Welsh government explained that the Inhaler Recycling Pilot Project has used the funding to establish a contract with Grundon Waste Management, under which the inhalers are collected and HFA gases recaptured, cleansed and reused in refrigeration. It added that the aluminium and plastic casing of the inhalers are also being recycled.

The Welsh government said it £800,000 of its funding is to be used to support an inhaler recycling scheme (picture: Shutterstock)

The initiative, led by Swansea Bay University Health Board, is being trialled across eight pharmacies in the Upper Valleys Cluster, which covers parts of the Neath, Dulais, Swansea and Amman valleys, according to the Welsh government. It is using patient education and promotional material, like stickers on medication bags and boxes, to encourage people to return used or unwanted inhalers to their pharmacy, it added.

This comes as a study by the Upper Valleys Cluster previously indicated 90% of inhalers were being sent to landfill via general household waste, which can see the gases leak out and contribute to climate change. The project aims to recycle 80% of all inhalers prescribed in the programme area by 2025.

MP visits Fife biomass plant

Martyn Day MP visited the UK’s largest waste wood-powered biomass plant “to understand the role of biomass in renewable energy production”, the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has said.

The association added that the MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk was shown around RWE’s £300 million biomass combined heat and power (CHP) facility at Markinch in Fife.

The visit, which took place earlier this month, was organised by the WRA in association with Biomass UK, “as part of the WRA’s ongoing MP engagement work to improve understanding of the wood recycling industry”.

WRA chair Richard Coulson of RWE (l) showed Mr Day (centre) around the Markinch facility

RWE Markinch is powered by 400,000 tonnes of biomass fuel per year, 90% of which is made up of recovered waste wood not suitable for recycling which might otherwise be sent to landfill, while the remaining 10% is forestry residue, the WRA concluded.

Commenting on the visit, WRA chair Richard Coulson, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Day to RWE Markinch. This plant perfectly demonstrates how using recovered waste wood to generate energy has massive environmental benefits and is a great example of the circular economy in action.”

Beddington community fund redistributes nearly £500,000

Viridor has revealed that the Beddington Community Benefit Fund has distributed approximately £498,207 to 62 projects in the boroughs of South London over the past five years.

Viridor, the owner of the Beddington energy from waste facility and the fund administrator, explained that the fund was established to support sustainable community projects. The fund, which is associated with the plant has a circa £1 million pot for projects in the four South London boroughs, Viridor stated, adding that projects within a 2km radius of the plant eligible for up to £30,000, with projects within the four boroughs eligible for up to £5,000.

Viridor said the community fund is associated with its Beddington energy from waste plant

The waste management company noted that in recent months, the community fund has supported three “standout” charities. This includes Maggie’s at the Royal Marsden in Sutton, which provides support for anyone living with cancer. According to Viridor, the charity has received £18,000 from the fund over a number of years.

The firm continued that funding of £9,750 also went to a local artist Christina Peake to run a community based mural project. Viridor then outlined that Startup Croydon, an inclusive business hub and charity, received £29,000 towards a new business lounge to help them bounce back post pandemic.

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