carver 08:39 31 Jan 2011

Contrary to popular belief I do try to help the environment and try to do my bit, recently we had new bins for the paper and plastic/ metal.

So we went through every thing, sorted out all the plastic that could be recycled and put it in the bin.

Then about a month before Xmas we had a letter saying we were putting in the WRONG sort of plastic and they only wanted plastic "bottles", any other recyclable plastic could be taken to the recycling depot and they would take it.

So for the past 2 months I have collected plastic/ expanded polystyrene to do my bit for the environment and yesterday took it to the depot, which is 5 miles away, went in with 10 very large bags of recyclable plastic, all clean, to be told "just shove it in general waste" along with all the other stuff for landfill.

We only have about 4 6pint bottles of milk a week, about 4 pop bottles a week, the bulk of the stuff is made up off packaging which they don't want, excuse from the company concerned, "it's to expensive to sort out".

So I have now decided that to do my bit for the environment I will not waste any more petrol and just chuck every thing in the general waste bin we have.

Sorry, rant over.

  Forum Editor 08:55 31 Jan 2011

is how to get us all to participate in it whilst at the same time educating us on the complexities of it all.

Polystyrene is a rather difficult substance to recycle, so local authorities won't take it. It can be used as a soil conditioner if it's fragmented, and it has uses in the building industry.

With some waste materials the cost of collection and recycling can be too high to make it an attractive proposition for local authorities. We shouldn't automatically assume that because recycling is a good thing we are all entitled to expect the council to collect and recycle everything. Polystyrene isn't toxic as far as landfill is concerned, and it isn't biodegradable.

  peter99co 10:21 31 Jan 2011

We have 3 bins and find the system works. 1 for general waste. 1 for garden waste. 1 for tins, bottles,cardboard,paper and plastic stamped with the recycle symbol.

Heavy items such as old settees,fridges and wardrobes etc. are collected by arrangement.

A couple of times a year they have a bring out your junk day and this is left at for collection near you gate. This is for metal,old lawn mowers,bikes,garden junk and stuff no longer usable.

In France they have a system where you leave a chair or piano or any item no longer required by you outside your gate and anyone can help themselves and take it away. The end of harvest is also a time when you can go into a field and pick any crop without cost remaining and missed by the machinery or field workers. The field is then prepared for the next planting period.

  interzone55 10:27 31 Jan 2011

A couple of years ago I was just outside Cambridge, driving past their recycling depot and noticed vehicles from Sheffield dropping off their waste - how much fuel does a big wagon use driving from Sheffield to Cambridge and back?

FE does have a very valid point though - councils all have different policies on what they will take in the recycling bins. My sister in the next town has separate bins for glass, metal, plastic, food waste, general waste, garden cuttings and paper - 7 different bins and tubs.

My town has a bin for general waste; for cans, bottles & plastic bottles; garden cuttings and a bag for paper and cardboard.

My friend in London has general waste, food waste, cans and batteries - paper and plastic has to go to the council tip, but the end of his road is in a different borough and they take plastic & paper but not batteries...

  Quickbeam 10:40 31 Jan 2011

The same argument applies to batteries, small AA & AAA remote control ones. I would think that near on 100% of those go into the kitchen waste bin despite being labelled as recyclable. Has anyone ever driven to the dumpit site to dispose of a couple of dud AAAs?

  flycatcher1 10:58 31 Jan 2011

Many shops round here have containers for dud batteries. Waitrose and Lidl to name two.
Our recycling works a treat with weekly collections. Although we can cope with a fortnightly rubbish collection I am a little concerned for large families, must be a problem.

  dagbladet 11:07 31 Jan 2011

Waiting in the village hall car park one day. Watched as an old couple pulled up and spent 20 minutes or so taking glass bottles from the back of their Morris traveller and dilligently placing them in the correct skip. Clear bottles, brown glass, green glass etc. There were more than a few protracted discussions as to "is this one green or brown?". 5 minutes after they left, a big grab lorry arrived and emptied all of the bins into the same single compartment of his truck.

  gengiscant 11:31 31 Jan 2011

Up here in Edinburgh we were given 2 rather large tubs 1 red and 1 blue along with a list of what can go into what tub for collection on a particular day.

Now apart from the size of the tubs, which if you have a small flat,as I do is where to keep them. Then you have to decide whether you actually want to keep them in the house as after being outside being subject to the weather and of course any passing dogs they are not the most hygienic of containers.

To get round the storage problem, as I live in a common stair the boxes are kept at the foot and all flats share them.

I collect all paper in a cardboard box,transferring to the right recycling container when necessary which is then put out on the requisite day. Which works well and is collected by the council.

The problem is with cardboard,I very rarely buy from shops and do most of my shopping is done online which obviously means cardboard packaging. getting the council to collect this on the requisite day has proved to be impossible. I have had every excuse from it was to wet or it wasn't in the correct box even though the amount/size of the packaging made this impossible.

So much so that after countless emails to try and resolve the issue the cardboard now goes into the general waste.

Going to the nearest recycling depot is not an option as it is a couple of miles walk one way and the other alternative at the nearest supermarket is also not an easy travel option.

I would like to do better but the council should try to make the process less of a chore.

  JYPX 12:04 31 Jan 2011

My recycling bins came with specific instructions, eg Brown bin - plastic bottles but not the caps, glass bottles, food and drink cans. So that is exactly what goes in the bin - not my interpretation having read between the lines. No problem there.
What I do have a problem with is the (reported) amount of food that we throw away in this country.
Between a quarter and a third? Surely this can't have been a made up story by the BBC can it? Not if the evidence is there for all to see in landfill sites.

  spuds 13:08 31 Jan 2011

I live on the border lines of three councils. Each of the councils have their own idea as to recycling, which eventually leads to total confusion as to what is or what is not allowed.

Bins, bags, boxes are all being used in one way or another. Some items are local tip or waste skip only, at the persons own expense, when other similar items are gladly collected for free or a small fee by the other council. The rules also seem to change if you are on benefits or an OAP.

The council (sub contractor) that takes our rubbish use to take excess material in bags, due to supplying smaller wheelie bins. They then refused to take the bags, leaving people with excess material for the following week (bin already full). Now they have introduced a bag collecting service, with the material being transported about 60/100 miles away to special recycling plants.

This is totally crazy, because when the council was insisting about transporting rubbish (due to environmental issues) should never happen, they have now decided otherwise, as a better move?.

The sub-contractors have invested in a rather expensive waste disposal plant, and the measures that are now being taken, could well mean the scaling-down of this local operation.

Recycling is not a new thing, even though the councils and environmentalist would like us to believe this is so. Ask anyone born pre 1950's or even 1960's, and see how recycling occurred then. No plastic bags, just paper, that was used many times and then eventually perhaps started a grated fire. Bottles that had a money reward on returns, food waste (if any) went to feed animals, the list was endless, and lets not forget the hand-me-downs (pity the boy in a mostly girl family?).

  interzone55 13:20 31 Jan 2011

I think a large contributor to food waste is the restaurant / cafe / chippy sector.

A vast amount of food is pre-cooked in food outlets, and a lot of this is not going to be sold, so is just tossed away. McDonalds for instance only keeps cooked burgers for about 10 minutes then they're thrown in the bin...

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