Recycling, The Truth
Our indoor meetings continued with a talk on recycling by Colin Smith, Operational Manager Neighbourhood Services, Vale of Glamorgan, on the recent changes to recycling in our area and why they were necessary.
In his talk Colin addressed the issues of how our waste was treated, the reason for the change, what happens to our recycling and future plans.
The good news is that none of our waste goes to landfill. The contents of our blue boxes are treated at Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility as part of the Prosiect Gwyrdd/Project Green Initiative. This facility provides financial support (£50,000 per annum) on a 25 year contract to handle non-recyclable waste from local authorities – Cardiff, Newport, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan. This facility, the largest in Wales, is able to handle 350,000 tonnes per annum. In the process, enough electrical power is generated to power over 50,000 homes and diverts at least 95% of South Wales’ residual waste away from landfill. The ash generated goes to Avonmouth, where it is used in aggregate.
Our organic waste (food and garden) is treated at two new facilities. The food waste goes to an Anaerobic Digestion facility owned by Welsh Water. The output from the plant is a methane rich biogas providing energy for homes and a digestate which is used in agriculture. This reduces the release of harmful landfill gases into the atmosphere. Garden waste is shredded, composted and the resulting product can be used in parks etc.
The reason for the change in our recycling was because of an EU revised waste framework directive which called for all collections to achieve a high quality of recycling no worse than collecting separately. The Vale of Glamorgan secured Capital Funding of £6.3m for 2018/19 and 2019/20 to implement the service change. Time was right for this change as costs were escalating to get rid of plastic waste etc. The benefits of the changes are lower revenue, reduced carbon footprint, higher quality material and minimal contamination.
Single use plastic was removed from recycling as contamination was affecting 30-40% of all recycling leading to increasing costs – £65,000 in one month.
The roll out of the new scheme involved issuing some 80,000 containers and over 35,000 blue bags in 4 days. Although the scheme had teething problems, the situation is being continually monitored and changed when necessary.
Nothing goes abroad for recycling and a new recovery site is being built in Barry on the Atlantic Trading Estate which will prepare all the Vale’s recycling for reuse/recycling.
This talk was really helpful as it showed how, by changing our recycling habits, we are able to play our part in slowing down global warming and making the world a greener place.
Magic and The Witches of Salem
On a much lighter note our next talk was on the History of Magic by Jules the Magic Lady. Jules’s talk began by explaining that several centuries ago many practicing Christians had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people, known as witches, the power to harm in return for their loyalty and tens of thousands of these so called witches were executed after being put on trial.
In America the Salem witch trials occurred between 1692-3 when over 200 people were accused of practicing the Devil’s magic and 20 of them were executed. Current research reveals that these women were not mad but suffering from ergot poisoning which manifests itself in hallucinations, delusions, muscle spasms and vomiting. This was a direct result of King William’s war which led to food shortages, causing ergot contaminated rye to be eaten.
Spiritualism, created by the Fox sisters, influenced many people in the late 19th century including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They gave public demonstrations in return for money and this led on to the development of the Ouija board.
We went on to learn about the Magic Circle founded in Pinolis Restaurant in 1905 and which still has fewer than 100 women in its membership of over 1,400. Megan Knowles-Bacon was the first female to be appointed an officer in 2014.
The history of magic continued with the story of Harry Houdini and his amazing escapology acts. As well as being an illusionist, Houdini was also fascinated by aviation and in 1910 was the first person to make an aerial flight in Australia.
Television brought the spectacle of magic into the home and we all remembered such personalities as David Nixon, Tommy Cooper and Paul Daniels. Tommy Cooper will always be remembered for his fez and apparently when leaving a taxi cab he would put a teabag into the driver’s pocket leaving with the words ‘have a drink on me’.
Today we can have the pleasure of watching illusionists such as David Copperfield, Derren Brown and Dynamo, one of a new breed of magicians who do their tricks out in the open.
Jules finished by showing us some card tricks and also we all learnt how to do a trick with a rubber band.
This talk made a welcome escape from the troubled world we now live in.
Please note that all sessions of Tuesday Group are cancelled for the rest of the session including the trip to Fonmon.