Use common sense on bin collections

From:JMC

Sheffield 13 (Name and address supllied)

Having read the letters page in Sheffield Telegraph (October 13), I would like to respond to two points raised.

The first by K. Davis: If this person had observed the procedure for a little longer, it would have become clear that paper from the blue boxes were being emptied into a black bin, as a time and effort saving exercise so that when the bin is full only one empty is required into the recycling vehicle, rather than having to empty several boxes into the vehicle. Also it would have been seen that the vehicle being used was one designated for recycling vehicle, and not one used for the collection of household refuse.

The second by JM: Ask yourself, what other factor contributed to the blue bins being blown over by the wind? The answer, very little in the bins.

In a case like this I suggest that a little common sense would prevail.

My neighbour and I both recycle all that we can, but as ther are only two of us in each household, like JM there is little in each bin whenever the collection is due.

Our system is that our two bins are clearly marked, one for paper, the other for glass and plastic bottles, and we share the bins. Also, the bins are not put out for collection unless they are full. Our bins didn’t blow over in the wind.

Likewise with the black household refuse bin, we share that also, and very often due to our recycling habit that is rarely full every week and is only put out when it is.

With regard to the green bin, and on a purely personsal note, I would like to see mine emptied on a two-weekly basis during the growing and cutting seasons, which does extend beyond October.

But let’s face it, one system can’t suit all.

Just for the record, I am NOT employed by the council or Violia, just a householder with what I consider to be a little common sense.

Graduate tax, not tuition fees

From: Paul Blomfield

Labour MP for Sheffield Central

I AM happy to respond to the open letter from Joanna Hemingway seeking my views on tuition fees.

For over a decade I’ve campaigned to stop variable tuition fees being introduced, and I’ve always opposed a market being created in higher education. I’ve long been a supporter of a graduate tax which is a fairer and more progressive funding system. This approach didn’t always win me friends, but I campaigned for what I believe is right.

Under Ed Miliband, Labour is opposed to the marketisation of higher education and in favour of graduate tax. It’s why we voted against the £9000 maximum fees that the Tory/Lib Dem coalition introduced last year. The Government has intentionally created a market in higher education where students are being encouraged to consider fee levels, and therefore total debts, in considering their choice of course. At the same time the Government, and Vince Cable in particular, is encouraging ‘for-profit’ companies to run universities. And I’ve no doubt that they would scrap the £9000 fees cap as the next step, letting pure market forces rip through higher education, as in the US.

I support Labour’s recent proposal, that fees should be capped at £6000, because it will reduce the total debt facing students and stop the development of a market. This is a proposal to avert the immediate problems facing prospective students and our universities, but our aim remains to introduce a graduate tax in which people will contribute towards the cost of their higher education on the basis of what they earn and not what they have to borrow.

While I welcomed the support of many students at the General Election, I know that many more voted Liberal Democrat because of Nick Clegg’s solemn pledge to abolish tuition fees. As future students are saddled with £30,000 fees debt, the Lib Dems’ betrayal is not going to be forgotten any time soon. Labour will do all that we can to undo this wrong and make university affordable for all.

Recycling needs regional approach

From: Coun Jillian Creasy

Sheffield Green Party ]

Three letters about recycling (Telegraph, October 13) raise important questions. The answers illustrate the difficulties faced by the council as it seeks to improve the waste collection service.

Firstly, why don’t we collect a wider range of materials, for instance mixed plastics, cartons and aluminium foil? A bit part of the answer is cost. Aluminium and clear plastic bottles have some value, clear glass and coloured plastics less, mixed glass is virtually worthless. These prices are for the pure materials but the cost of transporting and separating the co-mingled contents of our blue bins already wipes out any actual profit. Adding in less valuable materials tips the scales further. And that’s taking the cost of the fortnightly kerbside collection as a given (about £2.5m a year). In other authorities the high cost of recycling waste is offset by reductions in landfill tax but in Sheffield we have an over-capacity incinerator, so there is much less financial benefit from diverting it. Exta recycling costs extra money which has to be found from elsewhere in the waste or other council services.

Paper and card do make money for the city, about half a million a year. We have a purpose-built sorting facility at Beighton which means we can sell high quality, pre-separated paper and card on to a paper mill. However, this plant can’t deal with mixed recyclates, hence asking residents to put paper and card in a separate receptacle. Few people like carrying the heavy box, least of all the bin-men who transfer it to a “slave bin” to lift it into the wagon. Your second correspondent can be reassured that paper and card is recycled.

The third letter calls for better communication between residents, bin men and back-office staff. This is indeed vital if residents are to separate materials and put them out in the correct receptacles at the correct times. Veolia is a profit-driven multinational but we have to persuade them that it will help them too if they provide a more flexible and responsive service.

As a Green councillor sitting on the cross-party waste review, I have argued for a regional approach (which would reduce financial and environmental costs), to make the most of existing facilities, to support local enterprises and jobs, and to consider the carbon impact of our decisions. (The latter could be the subject of an even longer letter but the simple message is that ultimately we must reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place if we are to reduce our carbon emissions.) Whatever is recommended by the review, we need to be honest with people about the constraints imposed by the 35-year contract with a large private company signed by the council in 2001. Perhaps we should think twice before we contract out more public services?

Misleading claims on cannabis use

From: Jan McCormick

Address supplied

Peter Reynolds (Telegraph letters, October 13) was irresponsible and misleading to suggest that cannabis is ‘safe’ because more people die from alcohol.

People would not spend millions of pounds in South Yorkshire each year on jelly beans. They buy cannabis because it works - it produces profound changes in brain activity.

Under proper medical supervision it can help reduce severe pain and chronic illness.

However, it is a subtle drug. and can be misused:

It can produce acute mental illness needing hospitalisation.

It can induce collapsed lung.

Users can develop lung cancer faster than from cigarettes.

Cannabis stays in the bloodstream for a long time. It is a factor in many traffic accidents even 24 hours after use.

Not to mention that it can rob people of their youth, their sharpness of mind, and can create anguish for their families. No parent of a child addicted to cannabis would ever use the word ‘safe’.

We suggest Peter Reynolds does his homework and looks at the newspapers - wherever a serious crime is reported, he should look for the word cannabis and sadly he will probably find it.