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Back green initiatives from growing shellfish to re-cycling

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 17, 2012

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Following your reports about waste disposal, I think everyone concerned should be very clear about who we are dealing with.

Viridor is a member of the Pennon Group which owns South West Water as its cash-cow. South West Water was created from the commercial half of the former South West Water Authority, while the other half joined the Environment Agency.

I believe the SWWA played fast and loose with its authority, for instance, by downgrading the old Brixton, Plymouth, sewage farm to primary treatment only, in order that Brixton could expand and so increase its income from water and sewage services while totally ignoring the fact that the Yealm estuary has had a Several Fishery Order on part of it for oysters and mussels since 1914.

I was one of the participants who, in the mid 1970s, successfully resisted the creation of a landfill in a valley called "Arcadia", between Brixton and Elburton, which drains into the Yealm estuary, probably the most fertile piece of natural seawater in the UK.

I am particularly keen to preserve its cleanliness and fertility for future generations who might need to exploit the fact that marine phytoplankton is harvested for human food about a thousand times more efficiently via bivalve molluscs than with swimming fish like cod at the end of long, wasteful food chains.

I have already proved the use of the "Crown Fishery" in the Yealm as a raft-born bivalve nursery and I hope soon to be able to take small oysters from there and grow them to full-size, out at sea. You also report that Devon is particularly good a waste recycling and currently recycles 55% of the rubbish it collects.

This is good, but could be better if, for example, it recycled Tetrapaks, the paper and wax containers for milk, soup and fruit juice which the South Hams District Council doesn't take.

The local council recycles Tetrapaks in West Sussex, so I don't see why they can't here. Then there is hearsay, sometimes, that the South Hams sometimes takes loads for recycling to landfill anyway.

Central Government could help if it outlawed packaging of more than one substance or made them more easily separated. For example, recycled paper and card already has a market, so long as plastic is not mixed in with it.

The same can be said of many plastics, so long as they are not contaminated with paper. Different packaging plastics could be more easily sorted by making them each a different colour.

Most of my non-recyclable waste is paper and plastic packaging which should be recycled, but they probably want it for incineration to help burn the rubbish that is hard to burn without.

Furthermore no incinerator is ever going to achieve the efficiency of proper fuels burned modern burners which don't need exhaust filters which constantly need cleaning, a vital process about which incinerator operators are likely to get a bit lax in 25 years time. Finally, what if there were an environmental disaster at the proposed New England incinerator between Yealmpton and Lee Mill?

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