Monday, 22 January 2007

Waste and Brown Rats

I saw Environment minister Ben Bradshaw being interviewed on Sunday on the politics show about waste and recycling. He said how well everything it was going. When asked about Rat population increases due to Fortnightly waste collection, he said it was called Alternate Weekly Collection, which he supported as this had increased recycling amounts. He said if the waste is in sealed containers it isn't a problem and blamed the warmer weather. There was no mention of the real solutiuon to this,  zero waste, so the problem will continue. Recycling should only come after first reduce, then reuse, then finally recycle. Ben Bradshaw sees incineration as the answer, but it encourages waste, and pollutes the atmosphere.

You can read the report of the National Pest Technicians Association Rodent Report here
They give six reasons, strangely not mentioning warm weather.
1 Councils charging for pest control causing unsuccessful DIY attempts
2 Private water companies not liasing with Councils (Rail companies similar) so no action taken
3 Overfeeding of birds
4 Litter from fast food outlets and fly tipping
5 Fortnightly waste collection
6 Derelict properties

They asked BB about the differing council policies around the country, how some will take cardboard, other wont. He said it was appropriate for councils to set their own policies.
They asked Jane Bickerstaff from Incpen ( representing manufacturers) about packaging and plastic, why some was recyclable and others wasn't. She went along with the government line its all getting better.

They looked at why you cant recycle shredded paper, it gets caught in the conveyor belts, but someone said if it was placed in a cardboard box it was ok.

Found this also
Ben Bradshaw (Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)Hansard
An independent, DEFRA funded research study, carried out by Enviros Consulting and Cranfield University in 2006, concluded that there was no evidence of rises in rat populations resulting from alternate weekly collection of household refuse designed to increase levels of recycling.

The study found that the influence of domestic waste management arrangements on rats is likely to be insignificant in comparison to other factors, such as the age of the property, the area (urban or rural), and the adequate upkeep of drains.

The winter interim report for phase one of the study has been published and is available from DEFRA's Local Authority Support website at:

Proper design of an alternate weekly collection (AWC) service should avoid any increase in nuisance to householders. The Waste and Resources Action Programme has published guidance for local authorities on the design and implementation of alternate weekly collection services, in order to minimise nuisance and health risks. This includes, for example, hygiene measures for bins. This is an important issue and DEFRA is supporting further research into this area. A report covering the summer period is currently under way and will be published soon.

Theres quite a good story in the Guardian on the link,,1948065,00.html . Environment minister Ben Bradshaw urged shoppers to teach supermarkets a lesson by dumping wasteful packaging at the cash till. It's not often a member of the government recommends direct action, the reuslts are amusing. The shopper unwraps the food, leaving as much packaging as food. Queues of tutting people form behind, and the check out person just wants them to leave.

No comments: