Letters: City firm is leading us away from costly landfill charges

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It’s heartening to see such a local example of the great business and job opportunities available as we make the necessary move towards a low carbon economy as highlighted in the Evening News piece “Vegware bags big innovation prize” (February 25).

This Polwarth-based company has gone from strength to strength and rightly so.

As the UK’s only manufacturer of 100 per cent compostable packaging, using their products mean that consumers and business aren’t adding to the council’s cash-guzzling landfill bills and the savings made can be better spent on vital services.

When you add to that their eye-catching, exciting and appealing designs there is nothing not to like.

What I’d like to know is why all packaging doesn’t match Vegware’s standards.

The Public Procurement Bill will soon wind its way through Parliament.

Such a Bill might suggest that public sector contracts, where disposables are unavoidable, are compostable.

And the supermarket landfill mountain of non-recyclable material could be reduced significantly if they too looked to visionary companies like Vegware.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian Region

Secularist needs taught a lesson

Neil Barber’s description of religious observance (RO) in schools (Letters, February 25) is so inaccurate that I suggest he goes back to school to find out what really goes on. The Scottish Government’s 2011 guidelines on RO, which the Church of Scotland supports, clearly and rightly state that RO events should be inclusive of pupils of all faiths and none. That is right and proper in a pluralist society.

How religious observance is delivered in schools is a matter for head teachers. Chaplains who assist in its delivery do so at the invitation of head teachers, not by right.

The RO events they deliver should not be confessional. Instead these events should assist in the ‘”spiritual development” of children as part of the holistic approach to education that Curriculum for Excellence embodies.

This inclusive and holistic approach is reflected in the encouragement in the 2011 guidelines to call these events “time for reflection”, a move the Church of Scotland also supported wholeheartedly.

Rev Sandy Fraser, convener, Church of Scotland standing committee on education

Spread the faith outside classes

The debate over the petition to the city council by Edinburgh Secular Society for a ballot of electors to end religious observance in city schools has led to a needed public debate on the role of ministers and religious groups in our schools.

If parents want their children to be brought up in a religious perspective then they can enroll them in church or faith activities out of school.

However well meaning they may be, the mission of Church of Scotland ministers and allied religious groups targeting these schools is to spread a belief in god and a version of Protestantism that many parents would rather not have preached in school.

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

Credit change is a blow for No vote

The downgrading of the UK’s triple A credit rating for the first time since 1978, and inevitable fall in the value of sterling, is not only a bitter blow to the UK economy, but has torpedoed one of the key arguments of those opposing Scottish independence.

We have for years been told of the merits of being in the UK due to its credit rating, but this bubble has now been burst, with the warning by Moody’s that growth remains “sluggish” over the next few years. The UK is now at risk of slipping back into recession.

Contrast this with the news that investment in North Sea oil and gas is at a 30-year high, with companies looking for offshore energy investing £11.4 billion in 2012, a figure that is set to rise to £13bn this year.

The number of projects submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change and given development approval almost doubled between 2011 and 2012, and there are still 24 billion barrels of oil to be recovered with a estimated wholesale value of £1.5 trillion.

Scotland is shackled within a declining UK that is gobbling up our black gold to fill a black hole in the UK Treasury.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

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