Newcastle sets up new radical approach to waste

A team of waste management experts have joint together to form the Newcastle Waste Commission, to tackle the city’s ‘mountain of waste’.

It is believed to be the first time that a major UK city has set up a commission to take a root and branch look at all aspects of waste, from recycling to refuse, waste to energy and packaging.

Newcastle produces 142,000 tonnes of waste a year, leaving the region’s environmental staff arguing that to continue without action is simply unsustainable and will,c continue to cause environmental damage, especially since shrinking council budgets can no longer afford to pay increasing landfill taxes.

Newcastle councillor Nick Kemp, who has responsibility for Newcastle City Council’s waste strategy, created the Newcastle Waste Commission to detail the journey of waste from the moment it is produced through to the moment it is disposed of to see how the city can dramatically reduce its waste mountain.

Kemp said: “Newcastle has decided that it can’t go on producing inordinate amounts of waste and just dumping it in the ground. We want a new approach. Something that challenges each and every one of us to change our behaviour for the world today and the world tomorrow. We owe this to future generations. I want Newcastle to become a model of excellence in how it deals with waste; a city that is emulated all around the world in tackling this global problem.”

Although the recommendations will be for Newcastle, it is expected they will be applicable to other cities across the UK and even influence future government policy.

Members of the commission are: Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water Group; Dr Colin Church, chief executive of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM); Ben Webster, environment editor for The Times; Marie Fallon, director of Regulated Industry, Environment Agency; Peter Maddox, director of Government Programmes for the charity, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP); Paul Taylor, UK chief executive of international waste recycling group, FCC Environment; and Andrew Griffiths, head of Environmental Sustainability, Nestle UK and Ireland.

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