Saturday, 19 December 2015

Taking steps to cut our waste

On 10th December, I put forward a motion on cutting waste at a meeting of Glasgow City Council. This motion was agreed and gives further support to the Council to segregate food waste for separate collection within council buildings and enable all users of the Council and its Arms Length Companies premises to have access to on-site recycling facilities. Use of these facilities will be supported by a local awareness campaign to encourage participation in waste prevention, reuse and recycling.

Through my work as Chair of the Council's Energy and Carbon Working Group, I have been concerned about how the Council is taking steps to cut waste and therefore, cut our carbon emissions.

I am aware that Glasgow Life has been supporting employees to ensure that waste is separated and placed in recycling facilities across their premises. Also, Cordia has assisted with recycling projects including a catering service by Encore within Caledonian University which has been highlighted as best practice. I have been impressed by efforts of staff to develop recycling across the City Centre Council Buildings in the last year.

Following on from this work, there is a need to ensure that recycling facilities are available to all staff and users of council services. With the support of Social Work, a pilot project has been developed and it is providing recycling facilities across three sites - a residential care home, a children's home and supported accommodation for homeless people - and information gathered at these locations will inform the business case for the roll out of recycling facilities across other premises.

There is also a proposal to develop a food waste pilot project within Education Services as part of the work with Co-operative Education Trust Scotland. Food waste within schools was highlighted in the report to the Children and Families Policy Development Committee on 26th November 2015. At section 4 on Enterprise and Citizenship, it states;

"The recent 2015 Milan Food Expo included the development of a European Union Charter for reducing food waste; DON'T WASTE OUR FUTURE. Young people from Shawlands Academy, Knightswood Secondary, St. Paul's High School and Hyndland Secondary School attended as representatives of the UK. A future paper will be presented to committee in relation to this."

I am keen to ensure that a future committee report can highlight that all schools recycle food waste.  

From referring to the Food Policy for Schools, I understand that all primary and secondary schools have a School Nutrition and Action Group consisting of parents, students, staff, Cordia and community/business representatives. It can be anticipated that this group can work within each school community to help deliver the food waste initiatives that are required.

The Council announced on 30th November 2015 that food waste collections for households will be rolled out to all households in Glasgow from January 2016, while further investment in the existing blue bin services for tenements and other flatted properties is carried out.

Residents will receive information and advice to encourage them to use both their existing and new recycling services as much as possible. The investment in new services will make it easier for households to recycle more of their waste.  At the same time as supporting households to recycle more, it makes sense to ensure that our Council and Arms Length Companies establish food waste collections and extend provision of recycling facilities.This sends a clear message to staff and the wider public that Glasgow is committed to taking action to reduce our waste and make it easier for everyone to recycle more.

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