…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
My local council made changes to my recycling service; they kindly sent me a letter and leaflets outlining the changes.
I feel that I am fortunate to live in an area where the recycling system is pretty wide-ranging and accommodating. I wrote to my council shortly after I moved into my own home a few years ago to find out more and to share my views at the time.
I’ve written before on my blog and shown the array of boxes I already have to contend with:
“Contend with” is a somewhat negative description but it is accurate; we do already have a few few different boxes but I appreciate these enable waste and different recyclable materials to be kept separate and then properly recycled where possible. The changes introduce an additional box, an orange one this time, and a pouch (which has yet to arrive) and also a slightly different schedule.
Changes with the recycling system are good; they show how the system is being flexible and better enabling the recycling of our rubbish; not only improving the system for existing things that can be recycling (reducing the need for extra sorting by the ‘system’ but allowing additional things to be recycled too (apparently*).
Accommodating these changes within our own homes and day-to-day lives, particularly on collection days (especially since there are changes here also) can be daunting, and this is where one’s reaction can be one that is adverse to change. Look past this reflex and be flexible ourselves, this is the key.
The modern kitchen.
My kitchen is in need of an overhaul, but for the time being I am making do. For this reason it has been easy for me to bring my recycling boxes into my kitchen – this seemed the most logical thing to do, although my sister questioned it.
“Why do you have your recycling boxes in your kitchen?” with an “are you crazy” tone of voice!
A typical kitchen would just have a general waste bin. This has been the norm in our household since we were born; a time before the household collection of recyclables took place. Way back then we would hoard recyclable and reusable things (plastic pots, metal cans, newspapers and magazines) in our garage, until such at time as we would take them to a recycling point.
The kitchen is the place where household waste is generated. Empty food containers are here and then rinsed out; it therefore makes sense to have the recycling boxes here for quick and easy disposal rather than having to carry things through to another place; it also discourages others from simply throwing things in the general waste bin, this doesn’t happen so much because I live alone, but whenever family are visiting and we have a meal together they don’t need to look around or think where to dispose of the different things.
I think every kitchen needs to work around the recycling system and its various boxes and if anyone is planning a new kitchen then it shouldn’t be acceptable to only think “where to put the [single] kitchen bin.” If you can afford a multi-thousand pound kitchen then you can afford to have “recycling” factored into the design, surely.
We now have three large boxes for recyclable stuff, rather than just two, so I’m thankful I didn’t construct anything, such as a shelving unit that wouldn’t be flexible to this change. Keeping your kitchen flexible seems to be the key.
*But is the extra box necessary?
We’ve been landed with this extra, orange, box which is for cardboard, except previously we would put cardboard with paper into the red box, now we are to separate these two materials, but the distinction between paper and cardboard isn’t always so obvious; you can have thick paper and thin card.
The extra box (and pouch for electrical items) give the illusion that more things are being recycled than before, but this isn’t the case; from the literature it would seem the system is accepting more plastic but when I had my informative visit from the recycling team they made it clear that their system then was accepting type 1 and 2 plastic, it just seemed how this was explained generally wasn’t so clear and people would only recycle the types of plastic they were certain about, like milk cartons.
One less collection:
Like other areas of the country we’ve seen our general waste bin collection reduced from two weeks to three. For me this makes no difference because I was so rarely using it. Lots of people complained though, and this even made a feature on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show; lots of people were complaining because the council’s nappy collection service was being restricted somewhat and asking for proof of a child’s age. People were complaining because they would seemingly fill their black bin up with nappies. I have strong feelings about this, which, yes, come from someone who isn’t a parent so can be deemed as irrelevant by those that refuse to change their ways (no pun intended), the solution; use washable nappies.
The amount of nappies thrown into landfill is horrific and I think all parents should reflect on this and deem it to be unacceptable and make the switch to washable nappies; if all did a quick bit of research it would be seen that once this becomes the normal behaviour for a parent then there would be no issue. Think of all the money saved for one thing.
The only problem I see with the three-weekly collection of the black bin is that this causes every other collection to coincide with a green garden waste bin collection, which is two-weekly, and means that some pavements (which are already packed full of bins and boxes) are more cluttered for the morning of the collection; a problem for all who use the pavements in that morning, such as children walking to school, parents pushing prams, and people in wheelchairs.
P.S. I don’t actually use my two brown boxes, which are for food waste, since the council gave me a compost bin; rarely will I have food waste, such as animal bones, to dispose of.