Recycling is a Waste of Time at the 2007 Battle of Ideas conference hosted by the Institute of Ideas.
With rubbish a major political issue, and threats from councils that residents might be fined if they do not sort their waste correctly, recycling has become a hot political issue. But, why bother to recycle? The benefits are far from indisputable. According to advocates of the new green orthodoxy, recycling is essential if we are to reduce pollution and alleviate global warming, but given its limited impact on CO2 emissions, it often seems as if the imperative to recycle has more to do with conspicuous 'good citizenship' than efficient waste management. Perhaps recycling is not only an inconvenient, but an unnecessary part of our daily routines.
Some have hailed the recycling industry of Mumbai as an economic model that we should all take notice of. Many inhabitants of the Indian city spend their time sorting dumped rubbish for recycling. But, how does this resource efficiency match up to our standards of human efficiency? Might a certain amount of wasted material be a price worth paying for the freedom to spend time on other things?- Institute of Ideas
Suzy Dean recently graduated from the LSE with a BSc in Government. She is Sales Manager at cScape, a digital agency, and helps out with Debating Matters, the debating competition for sixth form students, on a regular basis. In her spare time Suzy is currently writing a chapter on multi-culturalism for the forthcoming book Future Cities. She has previously conducted research for The Times Educational Supplement and Conscience magazine, and has written for Culture Wars, spiked and LSEâ€™s Script magazine.
Thomas Deichmann is founder and since 1992 Editor in Chief of the bi-monthly German magazine Novo, published in Frankfurt. Since 1993 he has worked as a freelance journalist and researcher for numerous quality papers across Europe, including Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Focus, Die Zeit, Financial Times Deutschland, Die Welt, Brand eins, Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Die Tageszeitung, Ernaehrungsdienst (all Germany), Der Standard (Austria), Profil (Austria), Weltwoche (Switzerland), De Groene Amsterdammer (Netherlands), Trouw (Netherlands), De Morgen (Belgium), Helsingborgs Dagblad (Sweden), spiked (UK).
During the 90s, Deichmann's journalism covered international relations and the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. Since 1999 he has focused his research and writing on science topics, and modern biotechnology in particular. His investigative journalism and his "enlightenment" approach repeatedly cause international and national wide debates. He has appeared on radio and TV repeatedly. He has lectured at universities and journalism schools such as the Henri Nannen Schule (Berlin), Schule fair Publizistik (Cologne) and Technische University Berlin on reporting and journalistic standards.
He studied Civil Engineering at Darmstadt University and was awarded his diploma in 1989, spending some years working at Darmstadt University and as a freelance engineer.
Julia Hailes MBE is author of The New Green Consumer Guide. She works with several different panels, advising major corporations such as Proctor and Gamble on environmental issues. She is also a blogger for the Daily Telegraph.
She began her career at the end of 1986 at Earthlife, and then helped to establish organisations such as SustainAbility, going on to organise Green Consumer Week. She co-founded and is a trustee of the Haller Foundation. She was the vice-chair of the ACCPE (the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products), and served as a District Councillor in South Somerset 1999-2003, and was until last year a non-executive director of the Jupiter Global Green Investment Trust. Julia was awarded the MBE in 1999.
Julie Hill is former Director of, and now an Associate of, Green Alliance â€“ one of the UKâ€™s foremost environmental policy organisations. Her areas of expertise are biotechnology, waste and resources policy, and sustainable buildings. She has recently been Deputy Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC), a member of the Governmentâ€™s GM Science Review Panel, and is currently a member of the Governmentâ€™s Commission on Environmental Markets and Performance.
Julie is a non-executive director of the Eden Project in Cornwall; a member of the Environmental Advisory Board for Shanks plc, a large waste company; a member of the Governmentâ€™s Waste and Resources Research Advisory Group; and a member of the Advisory Committee to the Innogen Centre at Edinburgh University. She was awarded an MBE in 2001.
She has authored and co-authored a number of publications on business and the environment, biotechnology and waste policy, including A Zero Waste UK (Green Alliance/IPPR, November 2006).
Rob Lyons is a writer for the online publication spiked. Topics of interest include science and health issues, particularly the panic about obesity and the way food has been treated as a problem in recent years.