Waste must be stopped

LARGE quantities of paper and food are being needlessly wasted in schools and council buildings, statistics released this week show.

An average of 10kg of food is wasted per pupil at schools across Shetland, with the figure as high as 18kg in one particular school. A substantial amount of food is also being wasted at care establishments, an average of 80g going to waste per plate.

Figures released by the infra­structure services department also show that several council offices in Lerwick are frittering away blank paper, with the IT unit’s building at King Harald Street by far the worst offender, with blank sheets account­ing 40 per cent of paper waste. More than a 10th of the infrastructure department’s own paper waste is blank paper. Meanwhile, more than 20 per cent of paper waste at schools in Hamnavoe, Ollaberry and Skeld is accounted for by blank sheets.

An alarmingly high number of departments are failing to make significant use of double-sided, or duplex, printing, which is further contributing to the mountain of waste paper generated by the SIC, members of the council’s audit and scrutiny committee were told at a meeting in Lerwick Town Hall on Wednesday.

Committee vice-chairman Allison Duncan said it was a problem which had to be raised with senior manage­ment. “The amount of paper being thrown out has to stop,” he said. “People have got to be educated to use duplex. Thousands could be saved.”

Environmental management offi­cer Mary Lisk said introducing good practice in a range of buildings was a time-consuming process, adding that she had often walked into buildings and found they were using unnecessary heating and lighting.

Committee member Jonathan Wills – who briefly interrupted the meeting to turn off lights which were pointlessly switched on in the chamber – said it was ironic that an IT department, which was supposed to be a “paperless office”, was one of the poorest performers.


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