We wouldn't normally say a speaker covered "rubbish" topics and suggestions in their talk - except that this was in fact the case when Past President of our club, Neil Fraser, gave us a presentation on the subject of waste management.
Neil, who has an extensive amount of experience in waste management, commenced his talk by explaining that prior to 1999, virtually all the waste generated in the UK was essentially dumped in the ground - frequently with minimal protective measures to safeguard the environment from the contaminated water and landfill gases generated by the rotting waste. This dumping of waste resulted in over 21,000 landfill sites across the UK, many of which are difficult to develop; it has also caused a huge financial and environmental liability for the country.
As a result of the Landfill Directive in 1999, the UK started to significantly improve the recycling and management of waste, with the amount of recycling improving from 11% in 1999 to its current level of 44%. The use of Landfill Tax and greater public awareness has substantially decreased the amount of waste going to landfill.
Neil explained how we now extensively recycle materials - for example, we now re-use crushed concrete for road aggregate, and burn waste in controlled conditions to generate power. Even the use of charity shops and numerous websites to sell on used products helps re-use what might otherwise be wasted.
Neil's talk also included a discussion on the importance of separating waste materials for weekly bin collections and at local Household Waste Recycling Centres. He showed several interesting photographs on the workings of Municipal Recycling Centres and also provided everyone with a weblink with a very interesting video on the workings of the Allington Waste Facility produced by Kent County Council (which you can see here).
Neil's talk was enjoyed by the audience, which included our District Governor, Ray Seager.
Picture: One of the sites that Neil has worked on. Picture credit: Neil Fraser.