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R's is the way

In response to Paul Kirkley's letter (NCE 18 July), I feel compelled to respond. Waste management is not just about recycling.

In fact recycling is the third of the three R's heirarchy of waste management - reduce, reuse and recycle. All are a vital and integral component of sustainable waste management or more broadly, resource conservation.

With this in mind, all industries can play a vital role to save energy and raw materials. In construction we can source materials more locally to save delivery fuel, minimise the quantities of materials required to complete our works, store materials correctly to ensure breakage, reuse materials where possible, and only then segregate and 'skip' materials.

Even at this stage, this need not signal burial in a landfill site. Many high value materials justify recycling as this is more energy efficient than smelting from ores and quarrying.

But recycling is just one small part of a bigger picture.

Cost may well be an issue in the equation, but there is a need to tackle the psyche that says this is all a waste of time.

Dr Michael de Silva, environmental consultant, MSDESILV@ctrl.co.uk

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