Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Pop money

Column published in Llanelli Herald on 27th October 2017


I fondly remember looking for empty bottles of Corona to claim back the 10p from the pop man. Well, it seems this kind of scheme could be coming back. It’s now called a Deposit Return Scheme and its one of the ideas for reducing rubbish on our streets that I’ll be discussing at the joint Litter Taskforce I’ve set up with the Council.
The benefits of this sort of scheme hit home when, following one of my Big Clean-Up events in Bigyn, I was told that - of the 40 black bags of litter we collected - half was recyclable.  Almost all of these recyclables were plastic bottles or tin cans. That these were found on streets, kerbs and in hedges, suggests that they are viewed by many people as throwaway objects and it’s a massive waste. Plastic is particularly harmful. It doesn’t break down or decompose - when thrown on land it makes the soil less fertile and when thrown in water it chokes our ponds, rivers and oceans and harms sea life.  

Wales leads the way for recycling in the UK – and globally.  Only two countries in the world recycle more than we do and the 5p charge for carrier bags has meant usage has dropped to a third of what it used to be. Introducing a deposit return scheme could help us do more. In Norway, 96% of all plastic bottles are returned thanks to these schemes - and I think it’s great news that the Welsh Government will be looking into the potential for them here in Wales.

This will be the third meeting of the Joint Litter Taskforce and I’m committed to to put politics to one side to work with the Plaid-run Council to try and make the streets of the whole Llanelli constituency cleaner. It’s an issue I stood for election on, and something I think really needs to change if we’re to rebuild pride in our communities.

At the meeting, we’ll discuss a wide-range of issues - from dog-fouling, to the difficulties accessing the dump, and from fly-tipping, to the lack of litter-bins and how complaints are handled.

Every time someone rings my office to discuss litter, or gets in touch via Facebook, I make a note of the concern and - with the help and support of the Council - I’ve pulled together this taskforce to come up with solutions to the issues that’ve been raised.
Right now I’m running a public poll on my Facebook page on how best we can reduce dog waste in our communities. I’ve been researching how other communities have tried to tackle this (quite literally) foul behaviour, and I’m asking people to vote on which schemes they think would work, as well as to add their suggestions. There’s still time to join the debate - please do visit my facebook page (facebook.com/leeforllanelli/) if you’d like to share your ideas.

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