Sunday, 2 March 2008

Laughing All The Way To The Landfill

Pity the poor eco-friendly saps of Worcestershire and Kings Lynn (beautiful place, well worth a visit if you get chance) who have been dutifully, if mindlessly, carrying out their recycling duties, as decreed by their local authorities.

No doubt many of them - well, ok, the more gullible residents - have been getting a warm fuzzy feeling as they conscientiously sort through their garbage, setting great rafts of it aside for recycling. But, despite their misplaced nobility, it is their less environmentally aware neighbours who are giggling this week, as it transpires that tons and tons of the lovingly segregated recycle-fodder have been carted off to landfills, just like common rubbish.

Imagine the shame, the horror, the humiliation that must have descended on those mugs who've been "doing their bit", only to find they, in turn, have been done - by none other than their local authority, no less. Never mind guys, you obviously get off on good deeds, and you can take heart from the knowledge that your misplaced environmental enthusiasm has filled my life with malicious mirth for many hours.

Despite my delight at the pious recycling brigade's humiliation, however, there's a more disturbing aspect to this story. Naturally, nobody - least of all the local authorities involved - is admitting to taking their constituents for a ride, ripping them off and generally making them feel (and LOOK) stupid and put upon.

Oh no. No, you see, it's the Government, isn't it? According to Friends of the Earth recycling bod Michael Warhurst, anyway. Apparently, they need to be clearer on how councils can recycle effectively. Pull the other one! To say that I am not this Government's biggest fan is a massive understatement, but I really don't see how this can be laid at the already-besieged door of Gordon Brown-Trousers.

A similar sneer is due to the "comingling" excuse, which suggests that residents aren't all that careful about cleaning things they put out for recycling. Apparently, improperly cleaned garbage, or, say, broken bottles mixed in with other materials, make it impossible to recycle the whole lot, and it ends up in landfill. CLEANING??? Oh, BOY! Can it really be that, in the not too distant future, we are going to be expected to CLEAN our GARBAGE before we put it out for recycling?

Firstly, I have never heard anything so bloody ridiculous in my whole life - or, at least, not since I last heard Gordon Brown-Trousers' excuses for not holding an election last year. Can you really imagine the Great Unwashed bothering to clean their rubbish before binning it? In many cases, they're not even all that quick to throw it away, let alone clean it first! Secondly, isn't that going to consume vital resources? Like water, which we're all supposed to be conserving against the day the Lake District looks like Ethiopia, apparently.

Frankly, it's all a load of rubbish, as this unfortunate (for the tree-huggers) shows only too well. Recycling might not be a bad idea in theory, but in reality it's got to be convenient and effective or people just won't be bothered. Add in extra hoops for them to jump through, make it apparent that you're scamming them and making their life difficult for the privilege of doing so, and people are not going to play along. That's what's happened so far, and now the wheels have fallen off - bet there will be a lot less material out for recycling in the affected regions next week. Or whenever they get around to emptying the bins there.

Billy Seggars.

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