Well done to every resident of Harlow!!!

In just two years in control of Harlow, the Conservative council working with residents has doubled the recycling rate in the town from a paltry 25% to a more normal 50%. This success has mainly been achieved by using the new waste contract that was introduced last year and by resident working with the council to ensure as much as possible of the waste that can be recycled is. Weekly collection of food waste that has been diverted from landfill and has guaranteed that other collections have not been smelly by the inclusion of food waste have been a huge part of this success.

When I took over as leader of the council two years ago, I publicly stated that one of our aims was to double the recycling rate in Harlow. I am really pleased that working together we have achieved the goal.

Another manifesto pledge met!

The normal bin days and recycling days will be changing over the Easter holiday because there are not going to be any collections on both Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Harlow Council has published information about this here and details of which collection day you are already here.

I have summarised the revised collections dates below:

Normal date Revised date
Fri 10/04/09 Sat 11/04/09
Mon 13/04/09 Tue 14/04/09
Tue 14/04/09 Wed 15/04/09
Wed 15/04/09 Thur 16/04/09
Thur 16/04/09 Fri 17/04/09
Fri 17/04/09 Sat 18/04/09

Please remember not to put your rubbish out the night before if you don’t have wheeled bins, as the foxes and cats as we know will have an Easter Party.

For those who generate an excess of Rubbish or Recycling over the Easter period and don’t want to wait for the regular rubbish or recycling collection there is always the Civic Amenity Point (or Dump as it’s known in my house!) run by Essex County Council, which is open all holiday including Easter Sunday, details here.

I was reading a friends blog (very funny by the way!) and he blogged about Earth Hour.

Now although I am a fairly well read sort of guy and keep up to date with the different news media, this one almost slipped under my radar this year.

It’s not that I don’t want to “save the planet”, in fact most of my friends would describe me as a bit of a green nut; which I probably get from my father, who has been “into” recycling for about 20 years or so, long before it was the “thing to do”.

I push my family to recycle more at home, we are a one car family (I don’t drive) and I love the idea of composting and growing your own food, reducing energy consumption (which also reduces my fuel bills) and above all I don’t like to waste things. I think that is pretty green.

So why don’t I support things like Earth Hour?

I’m sure that everyone taking part was doing it for the right reasons, sitting in the dark, feeling ashamed about Mankind’s negative influences on the Planet, and it probably got a very nice “and finally” on the evening news. But how many peoples attention was drawn to the topic by all those sitting in the dark? And how many peoples attention was caught who didn’t already know about Earth Hour and worry about climate change?

It would surely have been better to use that hour (and the electricity) to have coordinated mass email and letter writing campaigns to make various stores and companies more aware of consumer power and call for them to “do their bit”. It would have been better to spend the hour sorting household rubbish and walking down to the local recycling point. It would have been better for the organisers to think up something more novel to do this year, rather than the same group of people doing the same thing, with diminishing press coverage and interest. It might have been better to donate some cash to charities and bodies that actually achieve green things (like all those firms that will offset your carbon for a fee).

Personally I think Mankind has an incredibly inventive streak, and yes we are responsible for messing our planet up a fair bit. But I think we will be able to figure out a way forward, with everyone playing their part. The one thing I am certain about is that not much is going to be achieved in figuring out a solution with the lights out!