Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tiger in a turkey hut, more like

Well, that didn't take long! And I think my 'Cat. Pigeons' allusion was a tad tame with regard to the recycling 'expose' earlier this week.

First up, we have the PR from the chief protagonist, who obviously should have right of reply, which I guess this is as good as it gets: 

But I do recall the report saying they had been at the time invited to reply more fully, and claiming to have documents proving their role to be more innocent, which were then not forthcoming? Who knows?

It will be interesting to see how this pans out (if it ever does... 'out of sight, out of mind..'), but a few observations based on what I saw:
"...categorically deny the allegations that recyclable material was or has been exported for disposal to landfill. We do not deal with ‘mixed household waste’ which the programme repeatedly confused with ‘recyclable material."

Containers with their name on the shipping docket full of what looked like household binbag contents, sitting in Amsterdam, destined for a dead letter address in Jakarta?
“No prosecution has been brought against the company by the regulatory authority"

Not sure, but the programme seemed to be showing the regulatory body was not exactly a paragon of effectiveness in such affairs, putting their lack of action in a less than defensible (or defence-worthy) light in this case.
“.. one would have expected the BBC to have at least considered what possible motive [we] would have to export material half way across the world for landfill?  Commercially, it is absurd to suggest that material would be exported for landfill

Fair point. One I asked.
In considering the two sets of containers filmed at Rotterdam and Jakarta, Grosvenor noted:
“..containers of recyclable mixed papers filmed in Jakarta were not owned by Grosvenor, but originated from a German recycling company which could contain papers from throughout Europe, and we have evidence to support the fact that it was recycled.."

Woooo. Conspiracy. Odd that recycled paper from the UK originated from Germany and gets mixed with some household goo and then shipped to Indonesia. What we need is to follow the paper trail (groan)!! 
“We noted the programme deliberately omitted statements and input from other organisations and representatives who provided positive testimony to Grosvenor’s recycling.”

As media are wont to do, sadly. And it can really suck. Not quite sure how such character references counter the facts in this case though. And how did they know the BBC omitted these statements if they weren't shown the programme?
Next we have this from a concerned recycling group:

This was not really meant for the consumer, and boy does it read that way. They make a good point that the public needs to be reassured by audit trails. I just wonder how that will get into the average householder's mindset to grasp well enough and hence demand. Smoke. Mirrors. 

Meanwhile, Materials Recycling week reports:


"Green Party members of the London Assembly will be asking the London Mayor to take action over the allegations that Grosvenor Waste Management sent the rubbish to be landfilled in Indonesia. 

Green Party member of the London Assembly Darren Johnson said: “It is completely unacceptable to export household recycling halfway around the world. This scandal highlights the urgent need to get waste recycling plants up and running in London which would create jobs and help the environment.” 

Which is one way of reacting. No sense of self-interest here at all. I have my tar and feathers waiting.

And this from WRAP's CEO:

 “Recycling is one simple way in which we can all make a difference, and more and more people are doing it regularly. Local councils and the Environment Agency (EA) need to play their part by making sure that what is put out for recycling genuinely gets recycled. In this way, we can all use the growing number of recycling services available to us with confidence.” 

Which is a wonderful endorsement for saying... recycling is a good thing to do.

The Community Recycling Network (CRN) UK has apparently slammed (how very red-top... bet they just offered an opinion) private sector waste companies and suggesting that co-mingled wheelie bins are the “lazy way” to recycle. 

It also seems householders are able to ask for full audit trails to find out where their recyclables are going. No mention of how. Anyone know?

Apparently Grosvenor is now considering what legal action to take against the BBC for a "singular, unsubstantiated attack on the company.” 

We await the outcome of such considerations with interest. I'm taking bets now. Who's up for it being in the 'old news' bin before Christmas, and quietly shelved by all parties who have got what they needed out of it. Mainly their jobs' worth.

I think I'll revisit a few of them to check every so often. If I forget too... remind me.

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