Scotland's green targets will take more projects like the church
built from junk
The church that a Glasgow community are building from old junk
will cost over £2 million to construct. That sounds expensive, but
it works out about £4 million cheaper than if it was to be built
using traditional materials and experienced workers.
But the real saving will be for the environment. The finished
building will be self-sufficient when it comes to heating and
power, which will help to lower Milton's carbon footprint.
And it has saved tonnes of junk that could otherwise have ended
up in landfill sites or waste incinerators.
The community building will use 500 worn car tyres, 300 wooden
pallets, 12 shipping containers, old roofing tiles and a couple of
tonnes of recycled aluminium drinks cans.
As plans progress for a 17-fold expansion of Scotland's waste
incineration, maybe we should all learn from the example of the
Milton community builders.
Around 166,000 tonnes of waste are burned in Scotland every
year. That is despite the government target to recycle 70% of our
rubbish, and the ultimate aim of creating "zero waste".
If plans for 15 more high temperature incineration plants around
the country go ahead, another three million tonnes of waste will be
burned each year.
One good thing to come out of that would be what is known as
energy-from-waste (EfW). The energy released by incinerators - EfW
- can be gathered and used to power and heat homes, public
buildings and communities.
But only one tenth of the energy used to make the products in
our rubbish can be recovered by EfW projects.
Recycling is much more efficient - it recovers four times more
energy than incineration, while landfill recovers none.
Projects like the church in Milton could help us to be more like
San Francisco in the USA, which is recycling 77% of waste and aims
for 100% by 2020 with no incineration or landfill.
Waste incinerators emit hundreds of dangerous chemicals. Many,
such as carcinogenic dioxins and heavy metals, are only measured
twice a year.
Local residents are campaigning against plans for incinerators
near their homes. They fear that the plants will threaten their
health and blight their communities.
The Government states that in 2014 it will carry out an "initial
survey" to check that recyclable waste is not being incinerated. By
then it will be too late. The new incinerators will have been
built, and local communities fear they will be condemned to 30
years of breathing poisonous fumes.
If only there were more wise men who would build their houses
upon old tyres and drinks cans, Scotland could be a lot further
along the road to meeting its green targets.
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