Tips trips waste of energy

IT'S Twelfth Night and all over the region, council tips are groaning under the weight of Christmas packaging and paper, rotting turkey carcasses, brussels sprouts peelings, and needlelesss trees, transported there by householders whose rubbish bins at home can't cope with the extra material.

IT'S Twelfth Night and all over the region, council tips are groaning under the weight of Christmas packaging and paper, rotting turkey carcasses, brussels sprouts peelings, and needlelesss trees, transported there by householders whose rubbish bins at home can't cope with the extra material.

The detritus of the festive season will then be hauled to landfill sites to rot over the centuries. Local authorities provide the tips - essential to allow householders to dispose of bulky goods from home and garden to be disposed - but councils are signally failing to get to grips with household collections of recyclable materials. From time to time, I've railed against the senseless amount of energy used by families who drive to council tips because they innocently believe they are doing their bit for the environment by disposing of wood, glass, newspapers, rags and clothes.

M views have been supported by a European environmental consultant Dr Jan Kooijman who says driving to the bottle bank to recycle a few empty wine and beer bottles uses more energy than it saves because of petrol consumption. "If you are going to the bottle bank you should always combine it with another trip, otherwise it becomes completely pointless and can actually waste more energy than it saves."

Although we're all told to recycle more, it's unlikely to happen until local authorities take their responsibilities seriously and introduce properly separated household collection services. Ipswich has made a commendable start with black, brown and blue wheelie bins and the Government has given some of the smaller Suffolk and Essex councils extra grants as an incentive to catch up with how things are done in parts of Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States.


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Dr Kooijman has this startling statistic. Changing from a four-wheel drive vehicle which consumes 20 miles to the gallon, to a family saloon which uses half as much fuel, can save 264 gallons a year. It would take 400 years of recycling all the family's glass bottles to save the same amount of energy.

So next time you see a councillor driving an SUV and telling you to recycle, I hope you remind them of their crocodile tears.

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