Nerf Ray Georgeson Keynote Nov 2008[1]


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These slides are from a keynote speech given to the NE Recycling Forum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nov 2008

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Nerf Ray Georgeson Keynote Nov 2008[1]

  1. 1. The rocky road from waste to resources Presentation to NERF Annual Conference Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 25th Nov 2008 Ray Georgeson MBE MCIWM
  2. 2. The boy in the bobble hat...
  3. 3. Waste technologies – the future The theme of today’s event is waste technologies and the future My task this morning is to: • Remind us of the context to today’s challenges • Take a whistle stop tour through some of the issues that concern us • Offer a few thoughts about our future challenges
  4. 4. Farming looks easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield. Dwight D Eisenhower
  5. 5. Context – where we are today We have made real and substantial progress on the road from waste to resource management • Fourfold increase in municipal recycling since 2001 • England average recycling rate now 34.5% • Two thirds of English households now ‘committed recyclers’ • Significant investments by councils in collection schemes • Major investments by private sector in sorting and treatment infrastructure • Real reductions in waste sent to landfill
  6. 6. Recycling progress 1997 - 2007
  7. 7. How did we do that? Concerted effort by many committed councils, businesses, agencies and individuals • driven in part by EU Directives – Landfill, Packaging, WEEE • policy lead from DETR, Cabinet Office – first statutory targets on councils for recycling and investments in infrastructure following reform of Landfill Tax Credits • drive for new and sustainable markets and uses for materials • policy and funding support from Defra for new technologies • in last few years, higher and faster increases in Landfill Tax
  8. 8. The rocky road… It hasn’t been as smooth as many would have liked • Planning system and its effect on all waste and resources proposals – not just the largest scale developments • Perceived technical barriers and uncertainty slow down investments and discourage innovation – the waste/product definition issue, standards, EA rulings, use of recyclate in products • Plenty of boulders in the road – State Aids clearance for investments in recycling and new technologies, relative slowness of waste industry to gear up for change, fiscal instruments to drive change limited and insufficient
  9. 9. As for the credit crunch… Where does one start? • the trigger for the major economic downturn • the biggest in most of our lifetimes • the seismic shift down in global demand • impact on commodity prices – metals, plastics, paper • lack of liquidity in banking system leading to fragility of investments – PFI schemes, new technologies (particularly ‘novel’ ones)
  10. 10. Recovered paper Nov 07- Nov08
  11. 11. Non-ferrous metals Oct 07 – Oct 08
  12. 12. Recovered plastic bottles Nov 07 – Nov 08
  13. 13. To cheer you up… Courtesy of
  14. 14. Lots of issues that concern us… The road stays bumpy • Meeting recycling targets in a volatile commodity market • Choosing the best options for ‘non-landfill’ residual treatment: AD, IVC, autoclaving, pyrolysis, MBT, gasification – the range of ‘new technologies’ • Does ‘good old’ EFW incineration start to look bankable again – in the context of the credit crunch and the positioning of some other technologies? • What more can we do to reach the recycling targets we already have, now that the ‘low hanging fruit’ has been picked? • What more can we do to improve our poor H&S record?
  15. 15. The health and safety challenge Often too low down the list of debated concerns 32% increase in fatal and major injuries in last three years (Source: HSE)
  16. 16. The climate challenge Well documented and absorbed • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ad nauseam (sadly) • Met Office Hadley Centre report, September 2008 – lost in the mists of the banking crisis • Documented evidence of the role of recycling and waste reduction in reducing carbon emissions • WRAP Environmental Benefits of Recycling report, 2006 • European Environmental Bureau report, 2008 • Australian Council of Recycling report, 2008 • WRAP The Food we Waste report, 2008
  17. 17. We can rise to the challenge We have no choice • continued pressing demands of EU and UK waste legislation – the revised Waste Framework Directive • the constant and demanding imperative of climate change – the Climate Change Act, EU Emissions Trading Scheme • waste reduction and recycling, and some new technologies, play their part in reducing carbon emissions • we have to demonstrate leadership and bravery to drive our industry forward and show we can respond to the many public demands upon us
  18. 18. ‘Old technologies’ – ‘hearts and minds…’ Sub title could go here
  19. 19. The demands of ‘public will’ Should drive our thinking and actions •Providing services that are both responsive to public demands and shaped by public understanding – the concept of ‘public will’ •Our duty to communicate well, with honesty and integrity, and explain the challenges we face and the public’s role • Technologies are only as good as the public’s willingness to understand them and accept them • Do we underestimate the ability of people to rise to a challenge?
  20. 20. The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Martin Luther King (in Strength to Love, 1963)
  21. 21. Final thoughts on future challenges Our collective will to change things • we have been pretty ingenious over the years... • .. and we will need more of that in the decades to come • technology has its place, alongside a growing acceptance of a different way of living, working and earning our keep in a world with another 3bn people on it • as we have seen these last three months, what happens in the USA affects us, what happens in China affects us, what we do affects many in developing countries
  22. 22. “All of life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King
  23. 23. Thank you – from the boy in the bobble hat.!
  24. 24. Contact details Ray Georgeson Resources Ltd 2 Garnett Villas, North Avenue, OTLEY, West Yorkshire, LS21 1AJ Telephone: +44 (0) 1943 463680 Mobile: +44 (0) 7711 069433 E-mail: Website: (live by Christmas 2008)