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Councils Refuse Our Refuse Requests

Jul 3, 2008
We're all well aware of the benefits of recycling but who, in all seriousness, has the time or inclination to do so? Most households now have their solitary green recycling bin duly supplied by their local council but if plans to cut down to once a month rubbish bin collections goes ahead, how will this little recycling bin be enough?

The whole issue surrounding recycling is very confusing but rules have been clamped down on even before anyone understands fully what can and can't be achieved. To many, it seems that making us dispose of our waste in a particular fashion means the council have that much less work to do yet our council tax is not reduced accordingly.

There is much controversy regarding our rubbish at the moment with so-called 'bin police' to contend with. They are dishing out fines of up to 5,000 pounds for offenders who throw rubbish away as opposed to putting it in the correct recycling bins and will soon be allowed access to private properties to investigate rubbish offences - and there was me thinking the police already did that!

There is further concern about the vermin that will be attracted towards residential areas if rubbish is not collected frequently enough and an increase has already been seen in areas where collections have been moved to once a fortnight. There is a real danger of this creating a health hazard.

Leaving the bin lids open or putting rubbish out too early has already caused fines of up to 1,000 pounds to be dished out and people are beginning to feel like they are being ripped off. When we pay a proportion of our extortionate council tax to rubbish collection, reducing bin collections and implementing fines for ridiculous reasons is causing the natives to revolt, unsurprisingly.

It is the councils hope that if rubbish collections are drastically reduced then people will be forced to recycle all in the name of becoming environmentally friendlier. I think that maybe people would be more keen to do so if there was a visible reduction in the council tax payments. Recycling bins are strategically placed in each town but not everyone (particularly the elderly) can get to them so it seems unfair that these people are penalised for putting out their rubbish as they have done so all their lives.

When you take a good look at packaging, it is not always clear what can be recycled and what can't. I made the assumption that if I had a plastic bottle to dispose of then I could simply put it in a recycling bin but it depends on the plastic. Personally, I don't know one type of plastic from another so back to my point that people simply don't have the time or inclination to study every bit of refuse to see which bin it's meant to go in. Surely, the council would be better off employing these 'bin police' to go through the recycling and sort out what's good and what's not? That way, more people would be inclined to stick plastics in a different recycling bin to their normal household rubbish.

At the end of the day, our refuse is such a tiny problem in the grand scheme of things that we have to question exactly why the council are being so pernickety about it.
About the Author
Refuse expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way councils are trying to force us to make better use of recycling bins without any let up in our council tax.
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