I was delighted to see community opposition to waste-to-energy proposals on the north coast.
On a lecture tour to Japan on the topic of waste minimisations my hosts invited me to view their ‘state-of-the-art’ waste-to-energy incinerator that burnt household waste to provide heating for the local community.
This incinerator did produce energy from waste, but at what cost? I suggested that this multi-billion yen investment to burn waste would constantly need to be fed with waste, so there was no incentive to generate less waste in the first place, which is the most effective measure to actually minimise waste. I was invited back to Japan to explore ways to minimise waste, but I wasn’t invited to view any more waste-to-energy incinerators.
The future is what we choose, so how do we choose to generate less waste? Choose to manufacture and use many less single-use, disposable products; manufacture and use many more reusable products; and recycle many more products that are genuinely recyclable and for which there are genuine viable markets. Then our children and grandchildren will know that we are all serious about the importance of adopting waste minimisation – a basic fundamental and vital change in our way of life if we are serious about adequately addressing the climate emergency, our children’s greatest challenge.