Spalding Guardian Letters - Thursday, May 16, 2019
Thank you for caring
A couple of years ago I wrote to you following my visit to the flower festival at St Mary’s Church, Long Sutton.
I had been very upset to see that, although there were many beautiful, expensive flowers on display throughout the church, the war memorial, tucked away in a corner of the church, was in a terrible state. The shelf was dusty, the silk poppies shabby and faded.
I didn’t visit the festival last year. This year, as soon as I arrived at St Mary’s, I went straight to the war memorial.
Thank you to those who took my comments on board, the memorial was a credit to the festival.
A wonderful display of flowers and the obvious involvement of the town school children was a joy to see.
Thank you for re-engaging with town history while still creating a magnificent display. I truly hope that the memorial will not be neglected in the future.
Mediocre targets are not enough
I, like many people, religiously shred all personal documents and put out for recycling. Now I have discovered that shredded paper is unable to be recycled in our area – apparently it jams the recycling machinery. Instead it goes to landfill. Why were we never told that this?
Armed with this knowledge, it would be possible to shred only the most sensitive documents, instead of everything. I feel that this fact has been hidden from us to avoid the inevitable repercussion. Because of this, many tons of perfectly good paper may have been consigned to landfill.
This is only the tip of a very large iceberg. If you take the time to really examine all that we put into our green bags, there is actually very little that seems to qualify.
Most plastic film is not recycled, and plastic trays tell us to “check local recycling”. How on earth is the average person supposed to do that?
We are told that black plastic is not recyclable, yet all the supermarkets continue to have shelf after shelf of meat and vegetables on black plastic trays.
Even the Co-op, which is reputed to have the greenest credentials, is amongst the greatest culprits. When I challenged someone on the Co-op Facebook page, they dodged the question, accused me of being unfair, and pointed to how many other ways they were reducing their carbon footprint.
That’s all very laudable, but they still have their produce, (much of it own-branded) in black plastic, knowing that it inevitably will end up buried for centuries, or burnt, producing greenhouse gases.
It’s very simple - if a supplier chooses to use black plastic trays, supermarkets (who have massive power to dictate to suppliers) should refuse to buy their products. Using Co-op as an example, they are often their own supplier, so there is simply no excuse for not switching to a more sustainable packaging.
Some companies are listening. Last year, I emailed Heck sausages letting them know how much I enjoyed their product (even better because my daughter is coeliac, and they are gluten free). I also said that, whilst they continued to supply their product in black plastic trays, I would not buy any more.
They sent me a pleasant email, asking me to bear with them, and, six months later, they switched to clear plastic. Now, I am not for one moment saying that I single-handedly brought the change about, but obviously I was but one of thousands of straws that finally broke this particular camel’s back!
The fact is, supermarkets are not committed to true recycling - they are only paying lip service. Plastic bags can now be made of vegetable protein, which dissolves harmlessly after a matter of weeks, but British retailers are just not getting on board.
Whilst it is true that the bag charge has drastically reduced the numbers in circulation, it is still far too high, at over one billion still being sold each year. These are not, on the whole, recyclable, and will be around for decades.
Cardboard, such as pizza boxes, cannot be recycled locally if they have any grease stains (have you ever seen a used pizza box that is spotless?). Foil trays with any food contaminant are rejected, which basically puts paid to any ready-meal packaging, or pet food trays, which the average household would find nigh impossible to clean.
So, the truth seems to be that most things that we put into our green bags are probably rejected and sent for landfill or incineration. Isn’t it about time the council had a sensible dialogue with us, and committed to finding more ways to reuse precious resources?
Don’t misunderstand me, I am no saint…I drive a diesel car and can occasionally be discovered drinking bottled water. But given the latest dire warnings on the state of the planet, setting mediocre targets 25 years in the future is not enough. There are many things that can be influenced now. As our friends at Tesco keep on saying…”every little helps”!
Thanks for voting me in
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of the whole ward of Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas for their support at the recent election.
It is a privilege to represent you and I will do my best to ensure I look after your interests. I will continue to work hard within the council and try to make sure Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas gets its fair share of resources. It was an unusual election which resulted in more Independents being elected even though the Conservatives fought a good campaign. For them to have lost control it would have had to have been a landslide, not just some serious losses.
For a number of sitting members to be re-elected should not be a surprise when one considers we have had four years of the weekly column ‘Cabinet Call’ in the Spalding Guardian.
Whilst being informative, it does enable portfolio holders to be consistently “advertised”. Whether it makes a material difference I leave to your judgement but I suspect it must have a beneficial effect.
As a result of those articles the public could be led to believe that they are the only ones actually doing anything. In my experience nothing could be further from the truth with members from both sides of the chamber being actively involved in many other day to day aspects of the authority. Perhaps the communication department might like, from time to time, to feature some of the activities mere members are engaged in.
Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas wards
I will keep doing my best for you
I would like to thank all the residents in Gosberton, Quadring and Donington who voted for me .
It is very humbling that so many of you put your faith in me for the next four years. I will try my very best not to let you down.
Gosberton Quadring and Donington ward