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What A Load Of Rubbish

Jun 22, 2008
In what should be one of the most simple acts of our complicated and overstretched lives, putting the rubbish out continues to add to the stress with ever more complicated rules by the day. In days gone by, people would collect their food scraps to put on the compost heap and the rest of the rubbish would be thrown into a litter bin and never given another thought.

However, in this area of so-called global warming as much as possible needs to be re-cycled. The trouble is no-one wants to pay to have the re-cycling sorted so we get different coloured bins and different areas to take all our rubbish to. So, what we save in pollution by re-cycling, we make up for in fuel emissions by driving around the various re-cycling centres!

On top of this, we have the health and safety police who now say that bins that are too heavy should not be lifted by bin men or how they shouldn't have to walk too far to retrieve a litter bin. I thought these were big, burly, strong men? Apparently not, as a pensioner was recently told that if she wanted her rubbish taken away, she had to drag her own wheelie bin half a mile down a hill because the council were stopping the bin lorry driving that far!

This woman also has a neighbour who has to share his wheelie bin with their other neighbours who live two miles away and they have to make the 25 minute round trip down to the main road for the bin men. The bin men are no longer allowed to drive the 0.6 miles to collect it but the pensioners are allowed to wheel the 360 litre communal litter bins down the hill, negotiate a 45 degree bend which becomes treacherous in the bad weather and across a cattle grid. A true case of bureaucracy gone mad!

The residents have lodged a complaint with the council who suggest they leave the bins by the road and take their rubbish down in smaller quantities more frequently. This isn't much help to them and they also run the risk of being fined for overfilling bins when fly tippers realise this is an easy spot to dispose of rubbish.

More crazy news from the world of rubbish comes the news that some households are having their rubbish inspected and all their food waste retrieved, weighed and analysed. Without informing those who own the wheelie bins, spot checks are being made through a supposed fact-finding mission to see how much food is being wasted.

They can find the 1,700 pounds to pay people for a totally worthless task but not to collect the rubbish from pensioners? Not worthless according to some because this could well lead to people being charged for 'improper use of litter bins'. Concerns have been voiced that we don't know who these people are, we are never informed when the inspections are going to take place and on top of that, some people still put confidential paperwork in their bins. Although shredding is recommended, should we assume that some council official is going to come rummaging through our bins on a day when he has nothing better to do? Is the amount of food we throw away the only thing they are looking for?
About the Author
Refuse expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way the councils rules for emptying litter bins seem to have taken a sinister turn.
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