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Newspaper Columns

Times of Tonbridge - Waste Management Consultation - 12 September 2018

Reducing the amount of waste we produce is essential. That’s why it is so important that recycling and disposal is not just easy, but sustainable. That’s why we have to work together. The council is going to do more – collecting more and more from our doorsteps – but it isn’t just about them.  They can’t collect everything from our doorstep, we need to help.

That’s why Household Waste Recycling Centres matter.  Only a few miles away for us we can play our part and drop things off sorting plastic, cardboard, grass cuttings, soil, or old bits of broken furniture. Kent County Council have said that more than 99% of it is recycled, with just 1% sent to landfill. And best of all it’s all free – for now that is. 

But this isn’t just about recycling, it’s about our homes and our communities.  Because waste management is not about others, it’s about us. How can we continue to enjoy our countryside without fly-tipping, how can we ensure our food is clean and healthy, how can we know our community will be protected for our kids and grandchildren? We need to work together.

Our countryside isn’t beautiful because the council made it so, but because we have together kept it the way we want. We have a shared responsibility to act and make sure that we are able to live in the most beautiful part of the country.  There’s nowhere better than Kent and I know we all love our home and want to keep it for generations to come.

To make sure we can work together, Kent County Council are asking for views on the proposal to change the way non-commercial waste is paid for. How much should be a shared cost and how much should be according to use? For things like soil, rubble, hardcore and plasterboard – building materials – there’s a good argument to say the person doing the construction, or destruction, should pay for it, not everyone in the community.

We need to change because the way we generate waste has changed. DIY is more common and that means more sacks of rubbish. And with our neighbouring councils now charging, if we don’t, we’ll have their rubbish in our tip.

The consultation closes on 1 Nov, so if you are someone who regularly the tips, I hope you will get in touch with Kent County Council. You can do this by completing the online questionnaire which can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/wasteconsultation, or writing to ‘Freepost KCC WASTE MANAGEMENT’. After 1 November the responses will be collated and the feedback go to KCC councillors, so please make sure your councillor knows your views.

Georgie Welford