Councillor suggests raw materials should be re-used in Dacorum schools

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The councillor wants the authority “to make the best use of waste as much as possible”.

Dacorum Councillor Robin Bromham has floated the idea that raw materials – like wood – that have been sent for recycling could be made available to schools or DIY enthusiasts.

Speaking at a meeting of the Herts Waste Partnership on Monday (29 April), Councillor Bromham acknowledged the availability of discarded manufactured items in the council’s re-use facilities.

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But the councillor – who is portfolio holder for neighbourhood operations at Dacorum Borough Council – said there wasn’t a mechanism for discarded raw materials to be re-used.

The idea of using the materials for DIY has been floatedThe idea of using the materials for DIY has been floated
The idea of using the materials for DIY has been floated

He told the meeting that he had been contacted by a teacher who had wanted to retrieve materials for a school project.

And he floated the idea that DIY materials – such as wood – could be removed at the waste stage, so they could then be used again by others.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Bromham stressed the importance of looking for new opportunities for waste streams, “to make the best use of waste as much as possible”.

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And he said amounts of materials – whether wood, metal or plastics – could be re-used for DIY or schools.

However it seems that the strict rules and regulations governing the treatment of waste would make this impossible.

Duncan Jones, development manager of the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that once an item had been put in a recycling area it was under the control of the county council.

He said there were then strict limits on what could then be done with it – for reasons of safety or public health.

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And any scheme that was to allow people to take materials from recycling centres, he said, would require a significant change in the regulatory framework.

“The legislative framework that Household Waste Recycling Centres operate under does not allow for the distribution of secondary raw materials,” said Mr Jones.

“And as such is not something we would be able to support at this time.

“This may seem a little over zealous, but is in line with regulations designed to underpin the safe and efficient management of household waste whilst protecting the public health at all times.”

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And spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council – which is responsible for waste disposal in the county – said: “Unfortunately once waste has been left at our recycling centres, there are strict rules about how we are allowed to processed [sic] and dispose of it.

“While we can’t offer waste wood to local groups, we would like to assure residents that all the wood left at our recycling centres is taken to a facility within Hertfordshire for processing and is eventually reused in the construction industry.”