- 28th February 2011
- Comments (2)
It is pretty much universally accepted that recycling is a good thing – not only does it prevent even more rubbish going into landfill sites, it hopefully allows local authorities to generate a little revenue (subject to market forces) and also keeps green issues in the everyday thoughts of the public at large.
However, there is always the danger with things like this that some people will go too far and make the whole thing seem ridiculous. This is exactly what has happened in numerous local authorities across the UK as overzealous councils have lumbered their residents with an unmanageable number of different containers for their refuse. This of course leads to what seems like a never ending task sorting the rubbish into the separate containers for the weekly or fortnightly collections.
While the newspapers again had the opportunity to use their favourite ‘postcode lottery’ phrases, the discrepancy across the country is sometimes quite marked. For example, the poor residents of Newcastle-under-Lyme have the unenviable task of sorting their rubbish into nine different bags and bins for collection; while a further 20 councils demand the use of seven different containers.
At the other end of the spectrum, residents of Dumfries and Galloway and the Isles of Scilly have just one container for all of their household waste and a further 17 councils have just two containers in operation, one for waste and one for recycling. The average for England and Scotland is four containers.
Research shows that recycling rates are unaffected whether the rubbish is sorted into different containers by residents, by the kerbside by dustbin men or later at a recycling centre. However, it may be that the number of rubbish containers increases again soon – the UK need to raise the level of household waste it recycles from the current 40 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.