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« Edinburgh Climate Conference | Main | Science policy on data and code »

Do you recycle?

There is an interview with Bjorn Lomborg here (H/T Chris by email). Anyone who has followed BL in the past will have heard most of it before, but I was struck by his statement that he still recycles.

Just to be clear, you are still green?
Absolutely. Obviously, I still recycle. I don't own a car.

My impression of most recycling is that it is very wasteful of resources, the chief exeption being aluminium. Given that Lomborg's claim to fame is that he checks out the numbers on these issues, I was surprised to see him say what he did.

Am I wrong? Do readers here recycle (if they can help it)?

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Reader Comments (71)

Of course! It is only polite after all, when the local council has gone to great lengths to give us nice boxes and bins to put things in.

Our son lives in Oxford where they get fined for putting things in the wrong bins.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I recycle, but under protest. Where we live in London, one has no option but to separate clean waste into four categories and containers. The household waste is a pointless chore, but being able to put out garden waste is great. We have no garden area, otherwise we would compost the multitudes of dead leaves we acquire, so it's great to have them collected each week.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

It's hard not to - isn't it?

Try putting "recycleables in the rubbish in many council districts of the UK. We are strong-armed by the EU anyway.

You could be prosecuted for being a denier.

I wouldn't think most people who visit you here Bish are wasteful folk who want to mess up the planet unnecessarily.

The reality of recycling though is very much different to the hype, as so often is the case with many "Green" projects. Waste being shipped half-way round the world and dealt with in appalling conditions by poor people in China and elsewhere for instance.

It is crazy that the Prius is looked on as "green" when you study its production process and then the fact that it is shipped from the far-east having created more CO2 already than say a petrol Nissan made in the UK will ever do. And then when you use it is often a 1.6 petrol car carrying several hundred pounds of batteries around.

BUT just like AGW though, expressing an anti-view will bring down all sorts of vitriol on your head.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Under the Human Rights Act 1998

Article 4 section 2 No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Therefore compulsory recycling is illegal


Feb 25, 2011 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I don't as it is been made impossible around here.
(council does not tag bins etc)
but I believe in it

Lomborg is right. I like Lomborgs ideas to make cities greener and paint roofs white etc.

Recycling is far more promising industry than windmills if one looks at it holistically and with business perspective.

Plastic bags and packaging should be recycled by allowing them to be burn @ high temperatures.
This requires triage long term planning without pocket lining politicians interfering and city planning etc.
Come to think of it: Impossible in the UK.
Fox hunting with a recyclable hat on the cocnut , that's about the most daring green initiative I can think of , for the UK. Recyclable paper ties and hats to go to Ascot.

Gemans recycle well , seperate coloured and white glass (all chucked together again at the depots hahaha) but their own ministries of disinformation cunningly hush the affair.
ZDF is a particular caustic one. It is filled with likeminded "progressive sophisticated" zealots. I can remember a Teheran documentary on ZDF radio a few years ago which seemed to come straight from Goebbels dungeon. Everythin, really everything in Teheran was wonderful: Girls could dress like they wanted..ok they had to be veiled but this opened soooo many new creative ways..that kind of libtardo political correct spin.
I wonder how the ZDF will report an eventually removed Ahmedinnejadh? Probably they all say"we never liked them" in lockstep with the new gospel by their Messiah, barry.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterphinniethewoo

In this part of the West Midlands (UK) we have an interesting system. We can recycle everything you can reasonably think of (including corrugated packaging) which is all collected together in a single green bin. Household waste to land fill (black bin) is collected fortnightly on alternate weeks with the green bin. The bin volumes adequate (just) for a household of 5.

The green bin waste is sorted into different waste streams by machine. The only thing that they can't take is aluminium (!) because the machine can't sort for it.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

Only to the extent of putting most cans/bottles and paper/card into a separate bin most of the time. I don't expend any effort on achieving this, so probably achieve 70% of what might be deemed 'correct'. Packaging and junk mail makes the majority of my blue bin contributions, and I guess treating paper different to other waste makes economic sense?

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

In Ireland, recyclables are collected for free whereas I have to pay for the collection of non-recyclables. So, we recycle as much as we can (and perhaps more than we should).

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

At work I put plaster cups in the plastics bin and I put paper in the paper bin, however I have always suspected that the contents of the bin aren't recycled. So am not clear on my answer to the question.

I've been tempted to make a FOI request to Glasgow City Council to request information on what happens to Glasgow's rubbish. Maybe I will one day.

It's the economic bit I don't get! Government policy has created a massive supply of something I would have thought there is very little demand for, that is unless people are demanding rubbish these days. There is an insightful pun to be had there...somewhere!

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Recycling should be looked at as a business.

When done properly, recycling is profitable as part of an overall waste removal scheme-which is necessary for health, hygiene and sanitation in modern society.

Where I live it is modestly profitable and provides productive employment.

If recycling where you live is unprofitable, it is probably not the concept's fault but rather the people that are running the business.

Feb 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrkneygal

Here's a useful tip for anyone who (like us here in the People's Republic of Cambridge - 'you don't ride a bike the wrong way down one-way streets and go through red traffic lights..?? Shame on you..') has problems getting the lid to shut on your multiple bins, due to an unexpected excess of that particular week's rubbish (which of course only gets collected once a fortnight)..
Using a stout piece of ply slightly smaller than the bin aperture, get a stepladder which has a frame to hang on to - climb up and jump up and down on the ply. Essential when you are 'legally' required to have the lid shut. Can actually increase the capacity of the bin by at least 50%...
Er - don't try this at home, the script requires me to say - and I take no responsibility for injuries..!

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Perhaps he meant or said that he "cycles" and not that he "recycles".
Otherwise the quote does not make total sense.
And the question was whether he was "green" not whether he "recycles".

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred Bloggs

I have no problem with recycling as I have done it all me life same as me parents, keeping things that can have another use in the future instead of binning is thrifty like keeping leftovers from dinner to finish off in another meal ! is just something many do their entire lives! but to force by law and threat a system that would work and has in private hands, but put under the control of public servants who for the most part cannot organise a rabbit shoot in a warren and are only concerned about meeting central quotes for capacity not a good business model! then it all falls down !!

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

The word "recycle" is a fine example of Newspeak. Householders do not recycle their waste, they SORT it so that the Local Authority can send it off to be recycled (or not as scrap prices dictate).

The system here in Normandy is free yellow bags from the Mairie for anything recyclable, black bags for the rest, bins for glass and waste paper in the village car park. The authorities know they would never get away with inspectors and fines. (There is a fine old French tradition of protesting by dumping things on the steps of the Prefecture.)

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Almost everything I buy is marked "recyclable", while almost nothing I buy says "recycled". There is a reason for this disparity.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson


I ensure that the nine other people who live in my house and the one I own next door recycle according to the Council's rules.

Our (4) green recycling wheelie bins fill up far quicker than the (4) others for non-recyclables. I am glad we now also now have 2 brown wheeliebins for compostable garden waste because we have two large gardens. Before, I used to put the garden waste in the black bins (destined for landfill, I think).

I also take our huge volumes of recyclable glass to the bottle bank at the bottom of the street - and, yes, I DO sort it into green, brown and clear - very tedious but what a delightful scrunchingshatter noise it makes as I pop them in!

I agree it makes sense to dispose of our volumes of waste in the most rational and economical way and I don't see why someone should not be able to make some money from the operation.

I once read that the containers that carry China's manufactured goods to the West go back filled with our waste for recycling in China. Whyever not? I hate the throwaway mentality.

On the other hand, if the waste cannot be usefully recycled I see no problem with burning it to generate electricity.

What on earth has this matter to do with my climate scepticism?

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Here in Germany everybody does it as a matter of course. Where I live we've got a big blue container for paper, which is emptied once a month, a brown bio one, which is emptied once a week, and a black one for everything else, emptied once every two weeks.

And being a keen gardener, I compost everything I can anyway.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce

It must be true that (1) some recycling is currently worth while, (2) some currently is not, and (3) in some cases whether it is or not depends on local conditions. (Not everything that makes sense in the center of London does in rural Missouri, and things that make sense in both of those places may be silly in the Arizona desert.) Unfortunately, most of us are not positioned well enough to know the answer in our particular locales.

Consequently, many others are probably like me: I like the idea in theory of recycling, but I suspect most of it turns out to be wasteful in practice. And, although that wastefulness can no doubt be blamed on poor execution in some cases, I'm not at all sure that some materials aren't just inherently uneconomical to recycle.

True, I sometimes wonder whether I shouldn't do more, on the theory that increasing the return of recyclables, even those that it is not currently economical to recycle, may spur the technology that will make more of it so. But that rationale sounds dangerously close to doing something to feel good rather than to do good.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Well, I still recycle up to a point. It isn't all that easy not to.

Metals have always been recycled (think:- rag & bone men). It is crazy not to recycle metals whilst scrap metals prices are so high and it does save both resources and energy. But (a) I have little faith that your local council will realise anything like the value of the metal you do recycle. Copper, stainless and brass will just get knicked. (b) There is an endemic problem of metal theft which the Government is too stupid to mitigate by making it illegal for scrap yards to pay out in cash rather than by bank transfer into a registered account. (c) I've better things to do than wash out cat food tins and the like.

Some metals (lead, mercury, cadmium etc.) should be kept out of the waste stream for genuine pollution prevention reasons. Most Council recycling efforts are very poor at this.

Glass is heavy and reasonably easy to recycle or reuse sensibly. There is little evidence that most Local Authority recycling is even half efficient and the glass recycling companies take advantage of LA incompetence by normally charging them to collect glass even where there is a market for the glass. Due to the strange fact that we use lots of things that come in green glass bottles but sell virtually nothing produced in the UK in green glass, there is a major imbalance. The old fashioned method of giving kids a few coppers to return bottles to the shop used to work well enough. Much glass recycled ends up in landfill. Some very grotty glass (full of rubbish and detritus) is 'exported to Holland' across the North Sea. At least, small ships full of glass set off from the UK. How many actually unload in Holland is a moot point.

Clean paper can be recycled easily enough and at times this is economic but it is very much a boom and bust market. It used to work well enough when Boy Scouts came round to collect. But the EA and the Elf n Safety boys have more or less put a stop to that. For example, processing recycled paper produced a lime rich sludge with some residual organics which is great in restoration work. The Environment Agency have gone out of its way to make this a difficult as they can, making the marginal economics even more dubious.

Plastics can be recycled but it only makes sense really when you have a significant amount of clean plastic of one particular type. So offcuts from a manufacturing process - yes. Your milk cartons and plastic bags? absolutely not.

Green waste? Another idea made pointless by EnvironMental controls.

Easily the most effective way of dealing with waste (other than landfill) is by taking out metals (and possibly some glass) and putting the rest through a modern, properly run Energy from Waste Incineration Plant. This proposal always gets the Greenies bouncing off the walls (another point in its favour) although they don't seem to have problems with it in Austria, Switzerland, Germany etc. Again there is a load of regulation, often not very sensible, which gets in the way. Where the heat from the process is properly used, this gets close to being commercially viable. Enormously more sensible than bloody windmills. And the residues can be used productively or disposed of safely.

But the Greenies have screwed it up with their absurd idea that everything can be 're-used' and talk of "zero waste" (About as achievable as "zero carbon" although Mystic MET and the UEA are both signed up to that one.

The Greenies presumably think it a great idea to have people trying to make a living scavenging on waste heaps like they do in India. We're spending Billions on this nonsense whilst hacking and slashing at care for old people, the Coastguard service, Citizens' Advice and much else besides.

But War against Waste, like War on Global Warming, is actually War on the Poor.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Ah, I can help with this one as I am Danish (like Lomborg) and my parents still live there. In Denmark there is a fine to be paid if you are caught not recycling and they take it quite seriously!

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterH

The problem, of course, is this.
When I were a lad (in the 1940's/50's) - we had a stove in the dining room - on which you chucked food waste; paper; in fact anything which would burn. (All of course producing CO2 - but it wasn't a 'dangerous greenhouse gas' then...)
Result..? A shovelful of ash every day, which went in the dustbin, along with some tins.
Unless you live in somewhere like the Outer Hebrides, you can't do that now - the environmental police will be down on you like a ton of bricks. Its called 'progress'...

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

We recycle, we even made a tree that some of you may have seen in Charlie & Lola (CBeebies) where our children put a leaf on it everytime they put something in the recycle bin.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

No, I don't.

Aluminium - good grief, it's congealed electricity, for heaven's sake.

Writing that, I do recycle my night soil in an approved way. :-)

Otherwise, keep your opposition to the insanities of Greenism uppermost.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterLouis Hissink

Recycling, as practised by local commissars in the UK is a corrupt conspiracy to enrich a few well connected private companies and create non-jobs.

Until recently I had three properties in different parts of the country, each with a bizarrely different regime of kitchen caddies, slop buckets and wheelie bins as well as multicoloured combinations of plastic boxes and bags.

Each regime also published a range of colourful, incomprehensible, impractical and self contradictory literature - containing veiled threats towards non-compliers.

I once spent over an hour with a cleaning lady at trying to decide whether plastic bubble packs with a card base are paper or plastic, whether Xmas wrapping paper incorporating foil and attached to metallised gift tags is in fact paper in a true and meaningful sense, whether packaged foods past their sell by date could be safely jettisoned with being unpacked and sorted into their official components, whether light brown tinged card was in fact "brown cardboard" or "white card" and whether it was really practical to remove the windows from window envelopes (as one leaflet seriously demanded).

I realised then that this whole farce was simply a sophisticated exercise in state power and mind control, designed destroy the rational thought processes of any remaining free citizens.

I have therefore stacked all the paraphernalia of state oppression, in mint condition, against the rear garage wall; to be offered, after the coming revolution, to the National Museum of Bureaucratic Stupidity.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I do, but that bloody Tim Worstall has spoiled it for me.

@ Richard Tol 10:54am

Careful there. Your ever-growing army of mortal enemies will seize on this as further evidence that you are a very bad man indeed ;-)

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I recycle my clothes each week using a thing called a washing machine. I recylced my old house when I sold it and bought another one. I can't be bothered with anything else.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterprocrustes

So much money is wasted on leaflets through the door etc, on recycled paper about how to recycle.

Wouldn't they save more by not employing people to write them, print them, deliver them, collect them and recycle them?

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I do (or rather, 'er indoors does). I just wish I had some confidence that it all wasn't tipped into one & the same landfill. IOW, happy to - IFF it actually achieves something.
Otherwise, incineration, preferably with (waste) heat generation, seems preferable.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterProud Denier

Foxgoose: "National Museum of Bureaucratic Stupidity"

I hope we don't get one of these on the west shore. It would occupy all of Delaware.

Feb 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

I'm in the London Borough of Hounslow, where the council kindly supplies boxes and bags for recycling, as well as weekly rubbish collection, so it's as easy to recycle as not. What happens to it all after that - well, who knows? Like Alexander K, I think the garden waste collection is a good idea - all our food waste plus some garden waste goes into a composter, but it would be quickly overwhelmed during the summer and autumn, due to the sheer volume of leaves, weeds and pruned branches etc., so it's great that the council take this stuff away and do something (we know not what) with it. I think waste incinerators that generate heat as a by-product would be a good idea - in Tokyo, back in the 1980s, I lived close to such a facility, where burnable waste provided energy to heat a local swimming pool. I don't think this will happen in the UK, though, as it's just a little too practical and useful an idea to be easily implemented over here.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I recycle because I'm charged per lift of the reular refuse bin but not the recyle bin. There are only a limited number of items that are supposed to go in the recycle bin but I put in absolutely eveything that has a recycle symbol on it so it saves me filling the regular bin.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeuromancer

I live in rural France so no household collection, but plenty of communal bins dotted about.

Triage - not recycling - of rubbish is easy. There are three communal bins: one for all glass; one for perishable waste and certain non-recyclable plastics; one for paper, cardboard, tins, plastic.

The advantage of communal bins is you don't need to keep rubbish on the premises or watch it pile up during Bank Holidays or get into conflict with the garbage Gestapo over where and when to put out your bins.

Every supermarket and DIY store has receptacles for used batteries and low-energy/poisonous light bulbs.

Most promotional literature is not addressed but is still delivered by the postal service. If you put a "Pas de publicité" notice on your mail-box, it does not get delivered. In fact some of the waste companies provide you with ready printed stickers.

The fact that triage of rubbish is easy enough and removing your own waste is up to you at your own convenience, with plenty of nearby collection points, it is no effort to "recycle" - although with the exception of certain items such as paper, tins and glass I think the supposed advantages of the whole process are more about ideology and people-control than practicality or reality..

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Although I do go through the ritual of separating out recyclable items, the only valid reason I can see for recycling is to keep stuff out of landfill – a good enough thing I suppose.

As for food waste, no need for recycling. I have a dog!

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Under the Human Rights Act 1998

Article 4 section 2 No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Therefore compulsory recycling is illegal


Feb 25, 2011 at 10:39 AM | Anoneumouse

Article 4 is a qualified right (compare it to Article 3/Prohibition of torture for instance).

If you look a little further, you'll see section 3:

3 For the purpose of this Article the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall not include:
(d)any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Even if local authorities didn't want to go down the recycling route at such a pace there are very considerable penalties if they don't. A very heavy duty government landfill tax is steaming down the line towards us. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 makes it a statutory duty to 'reduce emissions'. 'Zero carbon' is the unachievable mind modifying mantra.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCameron Rose

I don't recycle. My road hasn't yet been adopted by the council, so obviously we don't have the usual array of 10 or so different coloured boxes, and the Byzantine rules for what you should place into each of them and when. I have to put a black bin liner out once per week for collection. To be honest I don't generate a huge amount of waste in any case and take larger items to the "tip" when I need to dispose of them. A lot of that is put in a container and sent to China by ship. Obviously if it wasn't for my car, I wouldn't be able to take my rubbish anywhere :p.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Good lord no. My local council has two schemes: one 'green' bin for garden waste, paper and cardboard; and three tubs for glass, plastic and tins (both aluminium and steel). I do use the 'green' bin as an adjunct to my main bin, and dutifully put in any garden waste I produces (which is, due to my utter lack of gardening interest, woefully small); but I refuse point black to use the tubs ever since I saw the collectors pick up each tub, and empty them into one communal bin to be tipped into the back of the lorry.

So, main bin collected every week, 'green' bin once a fortnight (although I fill it, at most, three times a year), the the tubs never. All 'tub worthy' waste goes into the main bin since if they can't be bothered, neither can I.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC

The only time I recycled was when I lived in Wheaton, IL. There they had regular garbage cans and blue recycling cans. They had two different trucks come pick: one for garbage and one for recycling. We were required to put one sticker on each can or bag of garbage which cost about $1.33 a sticker. However, everything in the blue recycling cans was free. So there was an incentive to sort out the recycling and save a buck or two. I had two recycling cans.

Now living in NH, we drive ourselves to the the transfer station (dump) for free. They have recycling stalls and garbage stalls. There is no incentive to visit the recycling stalls so everything goes into the garbage stall.

While we are on the subject, has anyone else noticed what a great marketing scam recycling is? My local grocer wants me to buy fabric re-usable recycling bags to carry my groceries out but they don't give me any incentive to do so. I guess my green ethic is supposed to motivate me. So my wife buys their re-usable recycling bags and carries out groceries when she shops. I just use the cheap plastic bags when I shop provided by them. Either way the grocery store makes money. They don't knock 5 or 10 cents on my bill for using the recycling bags that I payed for.

Same for bottled water and other products. The packaging gets smaller (and therefore less product) in the name of recycling and going green, but the price doesn't change.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

It would be wrong to assume that because BL does not own a car that this is necessarily on account of 'green' beliefs. Taxes in Denmark strongly discourage car ownership. Google "Denmark car ownership"

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterT Gough


Good points. I'm going to use that. Thanks.

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I don't mind sticking paper, cardboard, packaging, glass and cans into the green bag and the rest into the black one.
Garden waste, vegetable cuttings, potato peelings: what were compost heaps invented for??
Other food waste - no problem: dog will eat it!

Wouldn't it be nice if someone were to invent a small home heater which could burn all the waste without the 'forbidden' emissions and provide energy for e.g. hot water ... would certainly make more sense than solar panels or small home wind mills ...

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

@ Orkneygal

When done properly, recycling is profitable as part of an overall waste removal scheme

I'm not sure that's true. If it were, there would surely be council-organised tenders to sell the right to collect recyclables. Instead, firms have to be paid to take the stuff away. This strongly suggests that although recycled stuff might have value at the point of eventual re-use, the costs of moving it and recycling it exceed that value. On your doorstep, your grass clippings and old newspapers are worth less than nothing.

There could be a conservation of resources argument for overpaying for raw materials if recycled, but even here the case seems weak. The commonest application of recycled coloured glass is, AIUI, as road bedding. Yes, they grind it down back into sand, and use it as sand. We're not short of sand, so why recycle glass? It's pointless.

A South African company called Sasol found, once upon a time, that the country's indigenous coal supplies were of such poor quality that the coal was net worthless. That is, if you took the selling price at the market, and deducted the cost of shipping it there to give you your net revenue per tonne, you got a minus number. The netback value at the minehead was literally less than nothing.

The application to which South African brown coal was eventually put was as feedstock for coal-to-liquids conversion, in which usage its low value was of course helpful. But even then they only did it because oil imports were mostly embargoed at the time. I really cannot see the equivalent "killer app" for anything obtained through recycling.

I suspect the best use to which most household rubbish could conceivably be put would be in some sort of domestic furnace - what used to be known as a "fireplace".

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I still think this Lomberg answer is the most important to us.

Am I right that you take it as read that climate change is happening and that it is predominantly man-made?

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

I heard him on the spoof news programme on the TV "10 o'clock live" (mostly left-wing drivel) a few weeks back and he was advocating chucking loads of other chemicals in the upper atmosphere to cool the planet!!!!!!!!!???? I thought it was a joke at first.

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Sorry typo again - Lomborg

Why do you always notice just after you press the submit button???

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

You pay your taxes (on pain of imprisonment) to have refuse taken away - it's what UK local councils are legally obliged to do.

Several years back I had an interesting chat with the head of waste at Milton Keynes Council. I expected some fairly politically correct spouting - but - to my everlasting surprise this didn't happen.

The key to recycling and refuse collection it seems is flexibility and control of the quality of the product.
Most council's collections are heterogenous - both contents of refuse and physical collection locations vary wildly.

Milton Keynes as a trendy council has led the recycling charge and learned a bit.
Some truths were arrived at by trial and error::

Kerbside recycling is hideously (ludicrously) expensive, ineffective and messy.
Wheely bins don't work everywhere
Central waste sorting gives a consistent product (i.e. marketable)
"Waste" contractors are taking the mick on an epic scale.

The activities of many UK councils when it comes to their refuse collection obligations show far too many to be ignorant, inept bureaucrats hell bent on frankly perverse interpretation/gold plating of "EU reglation" coupled to inflexible enforcement and the increasingly familiar fines....

The obfuscation of what happens to stuff after it disappears from outside your property is a disgrace. Some councils are attempting some transparency. Sadly, many others are abrogating their obligations and wasting eye-watering amounts of taxpayer's money on ill conceived and utterly ineffective knee-jerk folly driven by a quick reading of MRW. It has to be said that Milton Keynes stand out for their laudable transparency -a stark contrast to far too many other councils.

Conflation of recycling with Global Warming is omnipresent and sometimes quite bonkers. Some of the panic measures adopted by councils are bonkers too. Wiltshire is trucking 80 lorry loads of waste a week on a 160 mile round trip to fuel the incinerator at Slough.....

From America Penn & Teller tell it like it is?

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

Like Ricahrd Toi above, here in Nth County Dublin we have 3 bins.
Green for paper, plastics, tins (no glass) etc

Brown for garden stuff (I compost most of this) and waste cooked foods (not that we have much, I am the food compactor!) etc.

Both of these are collected fortnightly and are theoretically free.

I have 2 green composters which take up most of vegie peelings, garden stuff etc and I have a great area for composting leaves.

The black bin we pay an annual charge for and we also pay for each "lift" .

I am determined to put this bin out as infrequently as possible. Maybe I am mean, but since 9 Nov 2009 I have put this bin out only twice. Each time it has been packed to the top.

09 Nov 2009 and
22 Nov 2010

I do not use large plastic bags to put things into. By their very design, size etc if you fill them with rubbish you may only get 2/3 of these bags into your large 240ltr wheelie bin.

Does my bin smell over the year?

No it doesn't because any food rubbish is either in the brown or green bin.

Does it take much time? No, just a few minutes a week for all 3 bins.

Am I a greenie?

Absolutely not and I have just been out to vote them out of office...I hope.

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW

@ woodentop

Ah, but yes, but no, but

UK recycling policy is derived from European Union Directives

Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) For the purposes of this Convention the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.

Article 2 ( b ) Any work or service which forms part of the normal civic obligations of the citizens of a fully self-governing country;

Since 1972 the UK has not been "a fully sef-governing country"

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Woodentop (Feb 25th; 12.24pm) - surely you have just unearthed a 'human right' which totally undermines Call Me Dave's 'Big Society'..??

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

A senior official of the Ireland Environmental Protection Agency recently confided that he too put almost all of his waste in the recyclables bin.

Feb 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Well, I recycle all my combustible carbons...

Feb 25, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

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