Environmental decision making and corn starch bags
In a debate on Cllr Bolton’s blog I said ‘…the decision on the [corn starch] bags has been taken without full information being sought! This is irrational. Environmental decision making should be put on a firm evidence-based process. This has not been done by any party running the council…’ to which you Cllr Hopkins replied ‘I do not base my judgements on guesses but on evidence’. My subsequent request for data on the total environmental impacts of the corn starch bags in this debate was not replied to and so I doubt that full information has in fact been sought.
Q1. What figures does the council have for the carbon footprint of these corn starch bags, in order to assess whether they more than make up for their carbon cost?
Q2. What figures does the council have for any other environmental costs the corn starch bags may have eg water footprint, land take, biodiversity impacts?
Q3. Can you outline if/how you intend to quantitatively and fully assess the net effects of corn starch bag introduction: on the environment; on the economics of waste management for Bristol?
For the plans we have regarding potential roll out of corn starch liners across Bristol, the environmental costs of liner production is summarised as:
- 45t of bags will need to divert 540t - 1125t of organic waste from landfill to make the CO2 equivalent net saving, which will require approximately 3% increase in organic recycling. This is a very realistic estimate.
In summary this shows that there will be an overall positive impact to the environment.
For clarity, this calculation does not take into account the further expected reduction in waste arisings, as previous evidence has shown that when residents start recycling food waste for the first time, they are surprised at the amount they throw away which tends to make them reduce their waste in the future.