The truth about Greenlight?

Waste uplift chaos leads to more questions than the SNP council is prepared to answer   This is the link to Greenlight’s web site. 

Joe Public would like to know what really happened at Greenlight.

The picture of the big drum gives you and indication of what you have to do with comingled waste to separate out recyclate fractions. That’s why Einstein thought up the idea of the domestic blue bins for clean(ish) plastics, tins, cans and paper and the domestic black bins for the dirty detritus like nappies, plastic film, and all the other stuff that can’t be separated. It’s also why the concept of amenity recycling centres like Dalmoak and Old Kirkpatrick were set up to go the step further in separating out waste streams. Early separation is the absolute key. Compactors for general waste. Containers for card  board. Waste stream specific skips for metal, wood, electrical goods, inert material like soil, concrete, garden waste. Also set aside areas for fridges, cookers and other such white goods, together with further set aside for batteries and propane cylinders. Repositories also for clothes and of course green brown and clear glass bottle banks.. The logic  therefore of shutting council owned amenity centres to be replaced by huge skips swallowing every type of waste is quite difficult to understand. Why would anyone make such a decision, and why would the Council not have put into place a contingency plan for the failure of Greenlight.  Clearly there is a reason and given the extra costs that will be being sustained along with the damage to the environment due to a reduced level of recycling there has to be some serious questions asked not just of why Greenlight failed, but also why no contingency was put into place.

The costs of placing these large skips, and then trying to extract recyclate from the comingled mess will be costly. Costly because they will be trying to recycle what they can recover from the mess and costly because it will increase the amount of waste that goes to landfill. I saw it reported in the press two weeks ago that recyclate separation from comingled waste costs 30% less than the cost of landfill. With landfill tax at £88.25 tonne and landfill site operator tip fees and royalties on top again you can see how the cost of landfill could be of the order of maybe £110.00 to £130.00 tonne. And of course there are levies on top of councils who do not meet the ever more stringent recycling targets – and of course WDC is not in the upper echelons of councils achieving the highest recovery targets. But I digress, the whole thing is a mess. A seven day at least lock out from the recycling centres and no doubt a similar lock out from the uplifting of blue bins from flatted accommodation, and glass bottle banks, And no doubt the suspension of receipt and separation of recyclate at the Alexandria facility.  So some key questions –

  *       How did Greenlight get into the mess that it did. How did it build up a debt of £500,000 to HMRC along with substantial other debts to trade suppliers?

 *        Why did the directors not recognise the problem and did they allow the company to trade whilst it was technically insolvent?

*        Why did the council not have a contingency plan to step in and continue with the services that they are legally obliged to deliver?

 No doubt there will be an investigation by the insolvency service into the conduct of the company and its directors. However, aside of this, there should be questions asked of the council as to why they had no prior knowledge that the operating company was in the trading it now emerges it was. And finally, it is maybe a question to ask if over the very recent past good money was thrown after bad. Various press reports seek to suggest that the Council sought to facilitate the fullest possible payments to Greenlight to assist them trade whilst a suitor was sought. That none of the intimated five or six suitors was prepared to take on the company suggests that the debts of the business together with a lack of assets was much more substantial than has hitherto been released to the press. Put simply – what has been going on?   I think we should be told.

  • West Dunbartonshire Council, its leader Cllr Jonathan McColl and the SNP’s MPs Martin Docherty-Hughes and Brendan O’Hara refuse to answer questions from The Democrat about this or any other issue. They appear to refuse to recognise The Democrat as a digital news platform but decline to furnish us with any written reasons for the boycott. Bill Heaney, Editor

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