Birmingham residents generate about 350,000 tonnes of rubbish every year. This costs the City Council £30 million a year to burn or bury.


Some households actually produce very little and this shows how a more efficient future could look.


John Newson of Balsall Heath has promised to put out one black bag in 2012. “What I do,” says John, “is separate out everything that will rot and put it through a compost box in the backyard.

 “The compost grows salads and soft fruits. All the clean paper, metal and glass or plastic bottles go in the recycling box. Anything usable I give to charity shops.

 “This leaves just washed plastic packaging that I squash down, so this year’s bin bag is nowhere near full.”


We are now half way through the year and he is well on target to keep to his promise.


Birmingham Friends of the Earth propose halving the amount of rubbish in bin bags by 2020, which they say will save money, produce jobs, reduce pollution and lead to a cleaner city.


Campaigns Coordinator, Roxanne Green, says: “We cannot understand the city’s addiction to making and burning rubbish. People like John are showing that almost everything has a use, if only we get organised to be a recycling city.”


Currently only about 32% of municipal waste is composted or recycled, while most is burned or buried and Birmingham Friends of the Earth hope that there will be greater ambition to moving away from wasting resources by the new administration.

 [Figures for Birmingham’s municipal waste arisings:]