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Independent Green Voice

A Pragmatic Zero Waste Strategy

The Zero Waste Principle states: Everything we buy is made from materials which can be re-used, re-paired or re-cycled, and in those cases where they cannot, the products should be re-designed to fit the system, while at the same time we should seek to reduce the amount we use!

However, we are not dogmatic about this. We don't get hung up on the "zero" bit. We recognise that if everything had to be recyclable, we can say goodbye to computers or most other technological equipment -- since they simply cannot be made that way. Possibly in some future time, but definitely not now or in the immediate future.

Furthermore, we do not believe in compulsion. People can be encouraged to re-cycle, but the guiding principles are: Recycling should be voluntary and practical. There should be no legal coercion or punishment involved.

In that regard, Scotland lags behind other European nations. 90% of the 3m tonnes of household and commercial waste collected by Scottish councils in 2002 went into landfills. Only 7.4% was recycled, despite 60% (1.8 million tonnes) of all the waste being biodegradable. This was a slight improvement on the previous year, when only 6% was reused. But the figures were small compared to other countries like Switzerland which recycles 52% of its waste, the Netherlands 45% and the US 31%.


  • Promote SWERF Technology The plain fact is that under present technology some waste simply cannot be reverted to its original components. It may, however, be reprocessed and re-used for something else. Here is an example of one seriously viable means of refuse separation, recycling and disposal; in this instance at Derby -- SWERF: Solid Waste and Energy Recycling Facility has the ability to produce electricity from almost any kind of waste matter.
  • Promote Biofuels from Waste Products The Thermal Depolymerisation Process (TDP) can turn animal waste, offal, old tyres, junked computers and any old waste into oil and gas.
  • Roll out a Waste Recycling and Composting Initiative. Commercial food premises and hotels, especially, should be able to dispose of their waste in special composting bins. To that end, legislation which prohibits the use of such compost because of an unproven risk of "disease" should be challenged.

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