Eric Pickles wins award for talking trash

Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Eric Pickles has beaten two government ministers to the top of the trash pile by winning Friends of the Earth's (FoE) first-ever Talking Rubbish Award.

A larger than life stand-in donning an Eric Pickles mask posed for cameras outside the Houses of Parliament today (19 April) to receive the award, mounted in a gold-painted wheelie bin and surrounded by black rubbish bags.

Over 1,000 people voting online chose Pickles as the overwhelming winner of the campaign group’s contest, which was set up in response to the Coalition’s record of talking rubbish while failing to set out a sensible plan for dealing with England’s waste.

The resounding result was a damning verdict on the minister’s over-hyped claim that people are terrified of the ‘bin people’.

FoE’s waste campaigner, Julian Kirby, said: “Eric Pickles in particular has been at war with councils when he should be supporting them to cut the amount we needlessly throw away.”

He told edie: “Far from helping councils deal with waste sensibly and sustainably, Cameron’s Government relentlessly hounds them on waste charges, fines, collection frequency and so on and on.

“So the first thing Cameron can do is put an end to the bullying. He should ensure councils have the best information, such as on food waste collections, and support them when they are criticised for making the right decisions.

“And he should work with businesses and retailers to ensure that products are designed for durability and recyclability so that, ultimately, there is less waste to have to deal with in the first place.”

Last month, FoE invited the public to nominate the government minister that they thought had done most to ‘trash’ the case for recycling (see edie story). As well as online voting online, 5,000 people signed postcards and 4,000 sent Prime Minister David Cameron a personal email.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Under-Secretary for Communities & Local Government Bob Neill also faced ‘being trashed’ for the ‘bin myths’ they had attempted to spread.

FoE is pressing the Coalition to halve household black-bag waste by 50 % by 2020 and wants to see it boost recyling and incentivise people and businesses to cut down on unnecessary rubbish.

Nick Warburton

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