We recently attended the annual LARAC (Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee) Conference that took place at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. While I was only able to attend the first day of the conference, there was still a lot to be gained from that short amount of time.
LARAC is an organisation run by local authority recycling officers to provide quality representation on recycling and waste management issues. Their core principle is that all material we currently see as ‘waste’ is in fact a potential resource and that it should not be disposed of by any means that does not recover a significant proportion of its value. Here at Low and Behold we are currently expanding on the work we carry out within the reuse sector and this conference has provided us with the ideal opportunity to hear of all the latest efforts run around the country to make the most of discarded materials.
This year’s conference broached topics covering the future of recycling and also communication strategies. The keynote address by Richard Pullen, the Head of Waste Strategy and Regulation at Defra provided an update on the current status while Iain Gulland, the Director of Zero Waste Scotland, gave an update on the implementation of zero waste regulations in Scotland. Communication strategies covered those concerning the local authority residents and also effective strategies for communication within the workforce. A key theme running through these sessions noted the need for honest and consistent advice.
After what was perhaps one of the best lunch’s I’ve ever seen provided at a conference, the afternoon was formed of a choice of seminars and site visits. Out of the two site visit options provided I decided to take a tour of the Eastcroft Energy from Waste Facility. The plant provides a district heating service to 4,700 homes and over 100 commercial premises through 85km of pipework! Some of the other seminars available included discussions on food waste, garden waste and carpet and mattress recycling.