I hate New Year's Resolutions because they tend to be broken within fifteen seconds of being made. So this year I discarded the notion of losing weight, drinking less or giving up chocolate. None of those three were going to happen anyway so I thought I'd set myself a far more crucial challenge - recycling properly.
Up until now I consider myself a "Norwich Recycler", that is, somebody who recycles as much as they can on the kerbside without letting it interupt my everyday life, causing me hassle or driving anywhere.
But from the 1st January I became a "Proper Recycler". I have seperated paper and cardboard, even tearing up things to ensure I recycle what I can and throw away what I must. I sorted through things. I even removed the selotape from wrapping paper. I have created, in just a week, over twice the paper recycling that I did in a fortnight. I have been using my three composters in the garden for food waste. I have been cleaning out glass so I can put that on the kerb, not just the empty winebottles! I am keeping my tetrapaks to one side and when I sorted out my wardrobes, I did so with recycling in mind.
This evening I put my waste bin out. Full. Again.
Absolutely no difference. Now either my bin this week would have been massive if I hadn't of recycled or...
The truth is that I was recycling most of what I could have and my extra efforts haven't paid off in terms of the total percentage of waste produced by two adults and two small children in a semi-detached house in Norwich.
Or, and this is my view, the recycling I can do with some ease is so limited that our county and city must do something more as a matter of urgency to improve the situation.
I have tried, and mostly failed, to use my goodwill to improve the situation. Must the council force me to recycle, or should they provide me with extra opportunities to recycle? The Greens would say the former, we Conservatives no doubt the latter.
I am going to carry on and see what happens in the next few weeks. But all those who are planning for our future recycling needs should take heed of my experience. Good intentions won't improve our woeful recycling rates - we must be more radical than that.