Thursday, March 18, 2010

The truth about rubbish

The Daily Mail is running an article about the possibility of households being fined up to £1000 for putting the wrong rubbish in their bins. Of course, this is the Daily Mail and they've never knowingly underhyped a story, but it's worth investigating a bit. The story is here

There is a simple way to counter this of course and that's to make sure that you leave no identifying items in your bin and just empty the bin in the street and phone the fly-tipping hot line and ask the council to come and pick it up. Not that I'm suggesting any such thing of course.
Local councils must be made to understand that they are the servants of the people and not the other way around. We pay a lot of money in council tax and we expect a good service. The knee jerk reaction of local authorities when their ivory tower existence is threatened is to pull the "washington monument" trick. Cut front line services while keeping their won overpaid and overbloated existence unchanged.

I note that this rule only applies to household waste. In my day job as office manager of a solicitor's firm I have to deal with the disposal of the waste that we generate. In our town we buy blue rubbish bags from the council. They are currently about £1.50 each. Being a good citizen and mindful of the need to avoid putting recyclable items into landfill, I asked if the council would take our cardboard and paper separately.
The answer amazed me. No they wouldn't. They have no facility for separating trade waste. They had no plans to instigate separate collections or even provide a collection point for my cardboard and old newspapers. They weren't interested. So, we have a double standard in the heart of local council's recycling policy. If you're a household, you separate everything, if you're a business you can't. Not "don't have to" but "can't". That's crazy.
I refuse to pay the council to take away paper and cardboard that could easily be recycled. The council will quite happily fill up its landfill sites with trade waste , whilst fleecing the householder and wringing its hands and making us all feel guilty about some european directive or other.
Admittedly we are a small firm and we can easily recycle within the office.Our confidential waste has to be securely disposed of, but old envelopes and newspapers and spam faxes about lease cars and drinks machines can be boxed up and taken to the local public tip every month or so. we recycle our cardboard and cans through our houselhold collections and we've cut our trade waste to one bag per week.
Recycling and recycling policy- it's all rubbish, designed to extract more cash so that the council fatcats can get their gold plated pensions.
Local government officials used to be called public servants. When did that change? As far as I'm concerned it never has.

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