Monday, June 07, 2010

Waste not, want not.

They're trying and you have to give them that. The new coalition government is trying to reduce the country's debt and at the same time, reduce the country's waste. Now, whilst I admire their sentiment, I'm still really unsure as to the reality.

On the radio this morning I caught snippets of the proposed "bin tax" that was bounced around. The new government have decided against punishing the offenders of too much waste in favour of rewarding those who recycle and have little weekly waste.

I’m not sure if it’s compulsory or not actually, I only caught bits of it.

However, will it actually work to reduce much more waste?

Apparently a similar scheme works in Windsor and Maidenhead - oh, that must be the council that I used to live in that wouldn't pick up half my recycled stuff when I lived there five years ago. "We will reward you for recycling, but we don't recycle plastic, cardboard or glass" er...okay then!

Obviously times have moved on!

Surely it will attract the converted - "Yes, I recycle anyway, so therefore I now get rewarded for something I already do" - win-win!

Those who don’t recycle- won’t miss what they didn’t have and will continue to "abuse".

It may grab a few “on the cusp” and push them to the otherside, but for how long will this last?

Recycling isn't a current whim hobby, it's a lifestyle change and judging by the degree in rocket science you need in my parents council to sort the recycling into the correct categories, remove the plastic from the boxes, the windows from the envelopes, the garden waste from the household, the newspaper from the computer paper and on top of that remember which week they collect which bin and which season they come once a week and which, once a fortnight, for a reward of a couple of quid a week, for those in the unsure're onto a real money saving winner.... *sigh*!

On the otherhand, I don’t think the opposite would work either - the recyclers would continue to recycle but feel pressured and pissed off that they are scrutinised over what they already do.

Those who might be penalised as they normally throw away the waste weight of a small country each week will likely find somewhere to fly tip it!

Probably it’s the better option of two not so great ones, but I’m not sure where the money saving will come into it?

I think the retailers are a great place to start - What’s wrong with a certain internet book retailer who shall remain nameless, sending out book orders in a padda bag that’s made from recycled paper (not bubblewrap), rather than sending one book in a large box encased inside in plastic. The box is normally big enough to put three books into, 0r maybe I should just use my local library more often and save any packaging whatsoever to put in my bin and reduce the consumerism but...oh those books that need to sit on my shelves and be admired, stroked, read over and over...oh...oooh... er - sorry - carrying on...

I’m also curious to know why my local, rather nice, supermarket (who will also remain nameless) insists on packaging the organic foods in plastic - what is that all about? Why can’t I buy my organic carrots loose rather than in a nifty plastic bag - which, incidentally, my current council won't recycle because "it's the wrong number plastic"!!!

The supermarkets that now charge for using their carriers - yay! That is a step in the right direction. Using my own bags for shopping at the store has reduced my plastic bag hoard substantially, so there's a good start, but it's only a few supermarkets that do that, most still fling a gigantic pile of them at you when you reach the checkout.

Oh and don't get me started on the internet shop where the packers seem to think that you need one bag per carton of milk!! Yes, they do take them back to the store where they're recycled, but I'm happy to sign on the dotted for having two cartons of milk in the same bag if you're worried I might sue you or quite literally cry over spilt milk !

But, back to the common old garden householder - so are they going to electronically tag our bins?

Weigh them as the dustcart comes to pick them up?

What will we find when we come home from work each day and discover, to our horror, that we were 0.888gms over our allowance?

Will our homes be cordoned off with "Waste crime scene" tape?

Will there be a HarryPotter-esque dark mark over the homes of the offenders?

Maybe we will be electronically connected to our bins, so at that moment when our bins are discovered to be enemies of the state, sirens will blare wherever we are at work and Anne Robinson will come out to cast us off into the outer darkness?

Oh, the shame!

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