What a waste: Croydon recycles arguments against incinerator

Croydon Council’s recycling efforts have won an award. As local Green issues expert BRENDAN WALSH reports, this is just further proof that there’s no need for an incinerator

The press release from Croydon Council this week positively bursts with pride. “Croydon named as Local Authority of the Year for Recycling”. A wonderful achievement we can all agree.

Croydon’s making great strides with recycling which will render trucking rubbish to the Viridor incinerator an obsolete practice

But named by whom? None other than the “Plant and Waste Recycling” trade show staged in Devon. We’re not exactly talking big time here.

Nonetheless, under normal circumstances, this announcement would reflect a win-win all the way down the line. More recycling – Great. Less landfill – Wonderful. Free compost material – Super. Reduced methane emissions –Ecstasy! So what’s the snag?

The problem is that all this good, prize-winning work being done by the employees of Croydon Council and conscientious residents is merely creating a bigger hole to be filled by rubbish trucked in from outside the borough all to be burnt in the Godzilla monster that is the £1 billion incinerator scheme for Beddington Lane.

What I find impossible to understand are the motives of the individual, or the department, responsible for creating Croydon’s award-winning recycling scheme. If it was all being done for the best possible environmental reasons, then why would they spoil so much hard work by simultaneously working to destroy the air quality for the population of Croydon, our children and grandchildren?

It is as if the council’s left hand is engaged in good works, while the right hand is doing something rather obscene.

What is obvious is that this award just proves that, with a little bit of political will, the Viridor incinerator at Beddington Lane will be outdated technology almost before it is ready to start pumping its fumes into Croydon’s atmosphere.

Viridor has told us that they will need to run the facility at full capacity to make it economically viable. If Croydon is efficiently recycling, to an award-winning degree, then all it means is that they will have to “import” evermore unchecked waste, brought to Beddington Lane by road from the rest of south London, the south-east, and maybe even further afield.

Viridor don’t care about the residents of Croydon. Why should they? They exist to make money. No shame in that. It’s just business.

But it is our council’s job to protect us and the generations that follow. Yet they have allowed Viridor to redefine residual waste as “waste left over after recyclable and compostable materials have been removed by the householder”.

Thus instead of Viridor being held responsible for ensuring that the stuff it shovels into the greedy incinerator’s furnace is not toxic, carcinogenic, explosive or even radioactive, Croydon Council has agreed that you, me and our neighbours – few, if any of them, professionals or experts in waste disposal – and residents of whatever other local authorities end up shipping their rubbish to Croydon will carry the job of sifting and sorting the waste for incineration.

And the much-prized award?

The reality (neatly overlooked in the press release from the same Croydon press office that made the bogus claim that Lord Byron was a local resident) is that this was a trade show staged in Paignton. Go Croydon!

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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