Monday, June 18, 2012

City Living

I took this photograph while out on a bike ride with the kids at the end of March this year.  I had been thinking about urban biodiversity after reading an article on Nature Deficit Disorder and this view captured my train of thought.  We are in Robroyston Park, one of Glasgow's parks which is designated as a Local Nature Reserve.  A diverse range of habitats are present. The pond at centre frame attracts the swans pictured and other birds, insects, fish and amphibians.  To the right of the frame is deciduous woodland providing cover for small mammals and birds, including a heron which nests in the trees and to the left we have rough grassland which is attractive to many insects and various ground nesting birds. Juxtaposed in the background are several blocks of high rise flats - a potent symbol our densely populated urban environment.

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Sound Off on Rush+

So the big day is finally here.

After all the hype and $400,000 spent in marketing ("reinventing rush hour," "rush+ing your world") how did Metro do?

Other items:
Metro worker dies from work-related injury (Examiner)
Riders get creative with SmarTrip registration (Examiner)

More Recycling, Please

Recycling week runs from today, the 18th of June until the 26th with the aim of promoting recycling at home and away. There are many events around the country promoted by the Recycle Now website run by WRAP (Waste & Resource Action Programme). The website also contains a lot of information on recycling.

Recycling helps to conserve limited resources and using recycled materials often use less energy than virgin materials. In addition, recycling reduces the amount of waste that goes in to landfill, hence extending the life of existing sites and reducing the need for opening new sites at great environmental and social cost. Recycling week is focusing on kerbside recycling (home) and recycling centres where you can take recyclable waste that is not collected kerbside(away).  Another aspect of "away" that does not appear to be addressed is the dearth of recycling options in public places.  In some countries, they standard pavement bin will have compartments for glass, metals, plastics and others but these are rare in the UK.

We really do need to encourage more recycling in the UK as we lag behind our European neighbours in terms of recycling and the proportion of waste going to landfill. We compost or recycle 34% of domestic waste compared with an average of 39% across Europe according to DEFRA figures and 55% goes to landfill compared with 40% across Europe. The figures vary significantly across the country with some areas recycling less than 20% of domestic waste and others over 50%.

Between different local authority areas recycling rates vary tremendously. The aim of recycling week is to raise awareness amongst the public and encourage participation but we should turn it around and challenge our local authorities to provide better and more comprehensive facilities and also to challenge retailers and manufacturers to make it easier for us to reduce waste.

Of course recycling isn't the whole solution, before recycling our domestic waste we should consider whether things can be reused and before that whether we actually need them in the first place.

Related Links:

Related Posts:
Mechanical Biological Treatment: an alternative to kerbside recycling?
"Recycling" Food Waste