Cornwall Council needs to lead by example when talking rubbish

Comment & opinion
by Mike Thompson
About the author: Mike stood for Election (Conservatives) in St Austell Poltair 2017, kidney transplant 2014, married to Cornish wife. Loves pasties from the Crib Box. Lives in St Austell. On Facebook a
The Council must make a decision, we are told, to change bin collections to “fortnightly” and the local news is filled with talk of different political parties drawing lines in the sand and getting ready to slug it out.
Does rubbish wear rosettes?
Has anyone seen a consultation asking the Council Tax Payers?
The national news is filled with reports of plastic pollution in our seas, slowly choking the wildlife and our sources of food. There is also the report about 80% of kerbside recycling being sent to landfill because it is “contaminated”, which appears to be by numerous methods and generally non specific.
Nationally, St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double was recently re-elected for the third year running as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group Protect Our Waves, which as the names suggests is a group in Parliament that works across the political spectrum along with Cornish charity Surfers Against Sewage to improve our marine environments. Just this month it has achieved results in pushing the Government to announce it will be considering a much-needed deposit return scheme for single use plastic bottles, which often end up dumped in the sea.
Locally, Cornwall is very lucky to have many volunteer groups who regularly pick up litter in their area and off beaches. This does beg the question about what the Council is doing about enforcement? Our local fishermen also do their bit to harvest rubbish from the sea. I think that there is probably much more that the Council could do, but one thing they can do now is recognise the efforts of these volunteers and ensure that they work closely together.
If kerbside recycling is currently too complicated to ensure delivered product is not contaminated, what is the Council doing to revise and improve their collections?
Is the Council informing local Council Tax Payers that failures to comply within certain standards can gain a “fine” for the Council to be paid ultimately by the people?
I think it appropriate to also ask how the Council is actively educating youngsters, businesses and home owners about recycling?
Everyone knows that rubbish placed in Council serviced bins is not able to be recycled, but we aren’t told whether there are future plans to ensure that the Council Refuse Department will also play it’s part in recycling and lead by example.
The plastic bag Tax has reduced usage and thereby rubbish, but not eradicated the issue. Yet our council still advises all householders to use black bin bags to enclose their rubbish. Is this policy sustainable?
Nationally, talk of deposits on plastic bottles could have the same effect as the plastic bag Tax. If someone put these items in a Council serviced bin, what guarantees would there be that the bottle wouldn’t end up in landfill?
Yet, there is nothing at the moment about removing polystyrene food containers and other unrecycable products entirely. Plus, if all food outlets voluntarily agreed to change from polystyrene to non plastic lined, cardboard packaging, could the Council services cope with the change in rubbish content and ensure that everything that could be recycled, was recycled?
Finally, I believe that the Council must take notice of the gull problems. I feel sure that the gulls do not recognise political boundaries, but the issue needs addressing if rubbish is lying around for longer and becomes more attractive to the birds. Will the Council provide Wheelie Bins for everyone to secure this issue and improve health and safety for the operatives?
All of this is obviously connected, but if the discussion is limited to only collections rather than taking the opportunity to deliver a more holistic approach, then I believe that it is the Council Tax Payers who will not benefit and potentially the environment, our fishermen and Tourism industry that might suffer.