Are we in danger of creating a demand for waste to supply the ever growing 'waste sector'?
On Saturday evening I heard from Richard Leafe (CE of the Lake District National Park) in his excellent presentation to the Mountain Film Festival in Kendal that plans were underfoot to create energy from the humongous quantities of food waste that the hotel industry in the Lake District creates. (or rather tourists and we as paying guests create). This is an excellent initiative of course, but on a more marco level is it one to be proud of or an admission of failure to manage our resources or greed?
And on Guadian Eco news via twitter I hear of a gas company proclaiming to be the future of gas supply – from waste food.
Once these systems are in place they will require an ever growing supply of waste (in this case food, but all types of waste apply). And yet, just what is the balance? In respect of food we expend energy in growing, in harvesting, transporting, processing, preparing cooking and then disposal (more transport?) this must completley swamp the energy gained.
A quick serach forund an article by Tristram Stuart A load of rubbish suggests energy recover is only 0.75% of the energy needed to produce the food in the first place.
So it is with most waste recycling,and construction is no exception, and borrowing from the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, that each time we recycle we reduce the value and only delay the waste reaching landfill for a short while.
The most important issue then is to get to the heart of the matter and stop waste. And zero waste must become just that, zero, not a measure of what we don't send to landfill.