Sunday, January 07, 2007

Councillor "does" recycling - so why isn't my waste bin empty?

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.


Anonymous said...

Antony, Excellent. I agree. Very Commendable. The essence is to make Recycling "easy". I have 2 bins I bought in the Kitchen, all foot peddled. Easy One is marked

"Kitchen Waste/ tea bags/ soiled paper/used tissues", the other

"Non Recyclables" (crisp wrappers, clean film, plastic packaging. The kitchen waste is emptied into the home composter by 1-2 per week, and a thin layer of lawn cuttings/ garden leafs layered over it. We hope to get some "good stuff" for April/May to put on the garden/ tubs.

"The Green Boxes in the outhouse". All paper,newspapers and card is put into one green box (its more bulky) and glass bottles/cans go into a second green box. Each is put out alternatively. Plastic bottles are recycled fortnightly at Sainsbury, but we could do will more plastic container banks around the city/other superstore. Flat dwellers probably need Kitchen waste and plastic bin collections in mini recycle schemes.

What greens do not understand is that our consumer habits take time to change culturally and get into less wasteful habits. Its like a dietican asking a Fat Man to become an athlete over night.

Summarising: Recycling is easy and habitual with organised kitchen and kerbside bins and greater convenience for people. Make it easy, people will Recycle. Make it hard, dogmatic zw and time consuming, people won't.

Antony stay off the chocolate,pizzas, bacon buns and sausage roles they feed you on at NDHS. We know!

Anonymous said...

As a matter of interest Antony, what type of rubbish was in your rubbish bin after you had recycled. Plastic packaging, plastic bags, plastic containers, polystyrene packaging, and composite materials, this and that, and waste food turkey like the rest of us. Its a common problem. This is the next tranche of waste types we need to find a way to tackle culturally as consumers or by better technology, or both.

Anonymous said...

Antony, Full Bin again? You live with 3 consumer women! What do you expect.

Anonymous said...

Apparently This Blogg Ranks No11 in Iain dales Top Bloggs List. Iain must have common frustrations with his rubbish/discards!

Anonymous said...

Antony you need to have a serious word with you County Tory colleagues who are still holding out on incineration. You were principled and decisive from the beginning for which Bowthorpe must be thankful. Graham Hemmings has done the sensible thing and opposed it today. Will Eve Collishaw also do the sensible thing at the 24th Jan and Feb tbc PTEWED meetings and say no to the Twowse incinerator for both Contract A and B. (yes B, we might get a MBT plant at Costessey which is fine, but an incinerator sneaked to the South of Norwich on the back of the Contract B process without going back to the procurement process for other new alternatives such as Autoclaving, Plasma Gasifiaction or even changed investment in a much needed Resource Recovery Park. Their will be a precedence set as the Whittlingham land has waste planning permission already. Two different bids at two different sites. Contract A & B sown up?? Where is the public debate on this, or input into having better MBT, Autoclaving or plasma gasification technology for Contract B??

FMcInally said...

Buy reuseable nappies! ah lovely