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Will Cameron be able to deliver his ‘greenest government’?

21st March 2011 Posted by

I’m David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SITA UK, one of UK’s largest waste and recycling companies.

Since I became SITA UK’s CEO in late 2008, I have been quite vocal in the press. This has been mainly to reflect my frustration at the lack of ability for our industry, due to the vagaries of local planning, to provide the essential new infrastructure needed to prevent valuable resources being wasted.

In starting this blog, I hope to extend my voice and write some perhaps more personal feelings about the key environmental issues that are facing society and our industry. There is so much happening in our sector and much more to come. We have an important role to play in improving the sustainability of the UK.

So here goes with my first thoughts…

I still use the word ‘waste’ when I talk about this business, as Britain still has to make the shift from a throw-away society to one which sees the value in giving these materials a second life. The association with the word and image of waste is deep-rooted in our society. This is even evident when we make the effort and try to recycle the products we consume. How often have you heard someone say, “I’m just popping down to the tip”? I wonder how long it will be before we reach Scandinavian standards, where people instinctively recycle as part of their every day routine?

With the budget just around the corner will David Cameron, with all his aspirations to lead the ‘Greenest Government’, take the opportunity to start to develop a taxation strategy that has more than just revenue generation as its primary goal?

He has a golden opportunity to begin to influence the environment with the introduction of ‘green taxes’ which are already used to great effect in Northern Europe to obtain direct environmental benefit. These taxes can assist in behavioural change and then benefit further environmental opportunities.

I’ll be watching with interest on 23rd March to see if he stays true to his promise of creating the Greenest Government ever!

One comment on "Will Cameron be able to deliver his ‘greenest government’?"

  • I have recently applied for a job for SITA at the new plant in Teeside, and truly believe that the waste to energy plant is a way forward. I spent a number of years in Germany, and we could really learn from them. We had about 6 different bins for recycling as well as ‘bulk rubbish’ day. On bulk rubbish, large items were collected for recycling, which was a brilliant concept.

    The biggest issue in my opinion is the systems we have in packaging items. Often after a shopping trip, our bin fills up quickly with non-re-recyclable products, and buying a large kitchen appliance or electrical item usually produces a large amount of rubbish from polystyrene.

    Recycling needs to be everyone’s business, from the government to industries to retail to the public. As long as retail over-pack their products then the public will always provide excessive rubbish.

    Lets hope David Cameron really does keep his word.

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