THIS is a waste recycling centre right on my
doorstep. Literally! This is how my backyard could look if I had all the
bins Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council would like me - and my fellow
residents - to have.
O.K. There is no such centre. I
have been "playing around" with the image.
More on that space for glass
The grey bin (the council calls
it silver!) was delivered recently and comes into use in the week
beginning February 27th. It is meant to take "all paper and cardboard you
cannot put into the paper banks or the green bin . . . e.g. cereal boxes, brown packing boxes,
corrugated card, white and yellow telephone directories and other low
grade paper not suitable for recycling into newspaper." Quite a range.
Up to now, the types of paper
listed above have had to be thrown away with the rest of the general
household waste in the black bin. (There was a time when that was called a
The council waste recycling people
couldn't handle cardboard, etc. I have been recycling as much
waste as I could for years now - using the waste recycling centres at the
local supermarkets, including newspapers until the green bin was issued. So I am not against
recycling in any way. On the contrary, I think it is very important.
But it isn't the plethora of bins
that is the problem. In future, the black/grey bin and the grey/silver
bin will only be collected on alternate weeks. This is fine for anyone
who hasn't so far been into recycling.
Half of what used to go into the
black/grey bin will now go into the grey/silver bin and all will be
well, it is claimed. As the council leaflet said: "Because over 50% of
your waste can now be recycled, your residual waste bin will not be
filled up every week."
A nice theory, but I have found
that - even after recycling as much material as I could - there have been
weeks when I have more or less filled the black/grey bin with other
household waste in one week. I don't know where it comes from . . . !
what is going to happen every other week, when only the cardboard, etc,
will be collected?
We are assured there will be no
problem with household/food waste sitting in the appropriate bin for two
weeks - what, not even in a hot summer? - but it is more a case of where
will I put the second week's waste?
We cannot put
out what the council calls "side
waste" (that is rubbish in plastic bags left
next to the bin)
and - they remind us - the bin lid must be closed. (This, apparently, is
to keep the smells inside the bin.) Excess waste cannot be put in the bin above the lid
level with the lid open.
True, since I am writing this on
February 15th, I haven't had experience of how it will work. Perhaps I
will be proved wrong and my waste will fill my appropriate bin and no
more. Maybe I'll have egg on my face. Still, as long as the egg isn't
contaminating the inside of the bin . . . !
People living in houses and flats
unsuitable for another bin are assured they will be "offered alternatives
such a boxes, bags or communal containers." But wait a minute . . . If
someone in a house or flat puts out a plastic bag next to a bin, how will
the refuse disposal operatives (remember that job description!) know it
belongs to someone in an "unsuitable" house or flat and not to a resident
trying to get away with disposing extra waste? Possibly because the latter
wouldn't have an appropriate bag, I suppose.
You see, the RDOs can refuse (no
pun intended) to
take "side waste" and contaminated rubbish - that's cardboard, for
instance, which has been stained with "baked bean sauce" (I'm quoting
now!) which has trickled
from a tin that the resident didn't rinse out! And for anyone
complaining that rinsing out tins will use more water, the ever-helpful
recycling team suggest the use of "old washing up water" which will not be
costly or waste resources.
I am not the only one
with problems over the bins. One lady has threatened to write to the
Minister of State for Climate Change and Environment, and a town
councillor has had his say. Readers of the local newspapers have also
thrown in their two-penn'orth.
What, I am sure you are
wondering, happens about people who
fail to toe the line? Well, an earlier leaflet said: "We recommend
that you co-operate with the new collection service and need to advise you
that householders who do not comply may be prosecuted." Those words do not
appear in a later leaflet that came with the new bin.
However, Penelope Lane, the
council's Waste Education and Awareness Officer, wrote to the Crewe and Nantwich Chronicles
picking up on some comments made in the press
- including the threat of prosecution.
wrote: "Over 15,000 householders are successfully using the new scheme
with absolutely no need to invoke these powers.
"However, the council has a duty
to inform householders of any change to their refuse collection service
and we are obliged to inform residents that they can be prosecuted for
"We apologise if some people feel
we have been heavy handed."
Penelope also explains why only
plastic bottles can be accepted. "Nobody in the UK will take (other
types of plastic) from us." She refutes that residents are doing the
council's job in sorting the refuse. "We cannot come into the kitchen
and help," she says. The council isn't making money from recycling - "in
fact, recycling costs us money".
The oddest denial, however, is:
"Blue bins - There is absolutely no truth to this. There is also no
intention to issue any further wheeled bins. The maximum will be the four
Really, Penelope? In the leaflet
that came with the bins, someone - explaining how glass could break in the
silver/grey bins, with glass splinters contaminating the cardboard -
wrote: "We hope we can soon introduce a collection service for glass.
Until then, please use the glass banks."
O.K. No mention of a bin. Blue or
otherwise. That's good, because with the amount of glass I use, and throw
out, wouldn't fill a bin in a whole year! Presumably we will get boxes or
similar for the
Another point: With so much waste
going into the new "At Home" recycling centres, with there be a need for
centres at supermarkets or the council-operated ones?