What a lot of recycled rubbish…

14 Apr

I take our household recycling to the supermarket and put it in the designated bins there. Why? Because the boxes the council provides are either too small or the canvas lids blow off if it’s windy. Sticking it all in the car is just easier.

I was up at the recycling bins a few weeks ago putting the stuff in the right colour of bin when a car drove past. It was a blue Subaru with gold wheels and an exhaust with a diameter that would swallow a Smart car whole. As it went past a chap sitting in the front passenger seat communicated to me “doing your bit for the environment then” or words to that effect with the odd profanity mixed in to increase the richness of the message. This was followed by gales of laughing from the other chaps in the car. Bit naughty but also worth considering.

It’s not a five minute job to do recycling. It needs sorted into categories and some of the stuff has to be washed out because it’s sticky or would get smelly etc. I’d say I go up twice a month to take it to the bins and we also have one of those wee tiny bins that all the food waste goes into and that’s not a lot because we are mean and plan our meals to avoid waste. A mini bin lorry comes and gets those every week if you want to put it out that often. That all takes up time, my time.

I’d like to know how much money recycling saves and makes for Edinburgh Council. Why? Because I’d like to know what they do with the money. Yes I know they spend it, but on what? The money should go back to council taxpayers surely? Does that sound a bit mean and alien? Recycling should be a real joy because it protects the environment? Any money raised should be spent on Council services? If the answer to any of those is YES in your head then that’s fine. For me it’s wall to wall NO.

Let’s deal with this from a “cause – effect” model. We pretty much all agree that we have to deal with far too much packing, which we have to throw away and/or recycle.  But that has an effect of food and other household items being subject to regulations which state how they should be packaged to a degree. We also get more packaging with the stuff we buy because the manufacturers make the boxes etc. bigger so it’s looks as if you get more from your money.

Reduce the amount of packaging at source (cause) and there’s less to recycle (effect). If there’s less then it would need collected less and less of it would end up in a big hole in the ground.

I’m sure I read somewhere that you can leave your unwanted packaging with the shop you bought your goods from. Now if we all did that things might change quite a bit. The bigger shops would have to organise ways of recycling it. Maybe they’d ask the council to recycle it? They wouldn’t. They’d get their suppliers to reduce packaging to an absolute minimum and lobby the government to sort out packaging regulations, which would further reduce the amount of packaging. It would save everyone money would it not?

How about if we asked Amazon and all the other on-line shops to take the packing away for the stuff they deliver to us? Furniture and white good suppliers do it?

Of course we could pursue a different way to reduce packaging and all other manner of rubbish, which would reduce the need for bin collections to once a month or less. My grans bin was almost entirely made up of ashes from the coal fire. Almost everything was burnt and the bin was very small. Food waste, which was really pretty much all peelings etc. was kept for the “brock bin” and a local farmer came round every so often and picked that stuff up which went to feeding the pigs.

Yes I know, the Clean Air Act, increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and Animal Welfare stuff. Good grief. We’re all doomed, doomed I tell you!

I’d also like to know how cost effective recycling actually is from a manufacturing point of view. Is it cost effective? Is all glass definitely recycled along with other things ? I don’t think it is.

Do we live in an allusion?



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