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« Tamino does Climate Audit Covers - Josh 214 | Main | Briggs on statistics »
Saturday
Apr062013

Recycled policy

Lest we get too excited about the quenching of Geoffrey Lean's AGW ardour, the Mail's front-page story will concentrate minds. The subject is recycling and, erm, recycles a story that has done the rounds before, namely that a significant proportion of what householders are forced to sort is then shipped to the Far East, where it is subsequently quietly landfilled.

The reason for this travesty is that you, the public, are not up to scratch.

The Environment Agency are quoted as saying:

'We are particularly concerned about illegal exports of mixed household waste mis-described as paper or plastic. These typically derive from poorly-performing household collection and sorting systems.'

Also interesting is this revelation of the truth about why we are being forced to recycle:

Defra has...acknowledged that the main reason for compulsory recycling schemes is not lack of landfill space or the need to combat climate change, but instead the demands of the EU's Waste Framework Directive, the latest version of which came into force last year.

But let us note that the general theme of the story is not new. Recycling is mad, bad and a waste of resources that is being done at the demand of an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels, members of which have no doubt done very well from the arrangement. This has been understood for years.

And yet still policy remains unchanged. So when we consider how recognition of lower climate sensitivity will affect public policy, we have to recognise that we live in a country in which the mere fact that a policy results in insanity is insufficient grounds for its being dumped. The self-interested inertia of bureaucrats in Whitehall and Brussels will ensure that the public interest is spurned for many years to come.

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Reader Comments (51)

Last weekend I spring-cleaned a cupboard with some ancient paint and varnish tins and garden chemicals in it. We carefully bagged them separately and took them up to the fairly new recycling centre (ie dump) in town. On enquiring where we should put them, in the numerous containers for thing such as garden waste, cardboard, old TVs, books, batteries, plastic and glass bottles, etc, we were told that both the chemicals and the paint should be put into the landfill container.

Apr 6, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I don't have it to hand but if I remember correctly, Tim Worstall's 'Chasing Rainbows' (advertised on this very site) has a chapter which shows that recycling is only financially worthwhile if the labour performed by the householder in checking, sorting and sometimes even cleaning waste materials is regarded as having no cost.

I do the work for nothing and now I'm told I'm not doing it well enough. Can I resign?

Apr 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

"... the EU's Waste Framework Directive"

Their self-inflicted Mea Culpa

Apr 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

It has been common knowledge for years that the UK and the majority of European countries are not running out of landfill space and for as long as they keep building roads and houses and need the limestone and the sand and the gravel (and the near-surface coal) they are unlikely to.
The best thing to do with rubbish (except for things that are obviously recyclable and the only things that spring instantly to mind are paper and cardboard and glass and then only if and when there is a market for them) is to dump it in an otherwise useless and dangerous hole in the ground, cover it with topsoil and either plant trees or turn it into some local amenity. Either that or leave it as a dangerous eyesore.
The fact that the Dutch and the Danes were running out of landfill sites was never a good enough excuse to impose needless expense (and the inevitable fly-tipping that followed) on the rest of Europe.
The Law of Unintended Consequences — and eco-mania — strikes again!

Apr 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Some seven years ago, I was standing on the Bund in Shanghai looking at barges laden with plastic coming up the Huang Po. I asked what it was used for, our amiable local guide replied - for burning. It dawned that this was the collected western rubbish in the main.Chinese children would take water bottles almost as you finished them, almost in the same way as I collected pop bottles in the 1960s for my reclaim at the shop. As you say this is not new news though I understand that technologies are being developed to at least re-use some of the plastic waste in the UK.

Apr 6, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

It seems unlikely that Cameron will have support from other EU 'partners' in reclaiming powers. So, again we stand alone. The Eurozone is in free fall with regard to many of the state's economies, and it is far from certain that the whole thing will survive. Yet we are tied to these ridiculous directives that are a drain on our economy. Can we really wait until we have an IN/OUT referendum in, say 2018, before we leave the union? Ukip seem to have the right ideas, but they will certainly not be popular enough to form a government in 2015, or for many years after. It is a pity that the Tory party has not the nerve to fight the next election on many of the Ukip policies and promise a referendum immediately they get in, and support the OUT side. I am pretty confident they would get majority support from the electorate.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

one of the jokes produced during the war was, "Take these files, Meacham, and alphabetize them. Then take them to the incinerator."

Recycling aluminum seems to work here in the colonies. In fact it works so well that thieves intercept the curb-side sortings and remove the aluminum which is then sold to a scrap dealer.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

It's just another one of the myriad of reasons for leaving the EU.

Some people seem to enjoy having laws and regulations made for them by the unelected troughing bureaucrats of the EU - not me!

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

DougS: "It's just another one of the myriad of reasons for leaving the EU."

This is an apolitical blog of course but you know what to do on May 2nd should you agree with that sentiment.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commenteralleagra

If Smug Western Enviromentalists think Recycling is honourable then swap places with these people for 18 hours a
day 7 days a week for 50 pence per hour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_IMpVnRtno

Third world sympathy.In the developed world we got high tech industrial electric powered machines to do the work of slaves.Kevin McCloud take note.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I watched Sky's news paper review last night and Guardian writer Paul Lewis was suprised that this was the first time he'd heard of this. He said it was the sort of story he would expect the Guardian to have run first. As you write, it's not news. This information has been out there almost since the practice started. He expressed dismay at the thought of all the energy used shipping the rubbish out there, let alone all the system and hard work involved in sorting recycling in the first place. He didn't even veture an opinion of the horrors of those (including kids) who do sort through the rubbish for useable stuff.

Next Mr Lewis will express suprise that windmills kill birds and bats.

It will be the end of the Guardian if they continue to ignore tangible environmental scandals so as not to tarnish the message of CO2 reduction. All those London 'Elites' thinking they're saving the planet by sorting their champagne bottles from their caviar tins... well the maid doing the sorting.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

alleagra: I know it's an apolitical blog, you didn't see me trying to encourage anyone to vote UKIP did you? - oops!

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

When I first started sorting and recycling around ten years ago, there were containers in the supermarket carpark marked up for different kinds of waste. I took a notebook, wrote down everything that there was a container for, put up some shelves, and labelled some plastic storage bins. Now all of my carefully sorted stuff goes into one bin together. I was a little puzzled as to the logic of sorting the stuff and mixing it all together again, but that was on the assumption that it would all have to be separated again. If all they are doing is shipping the stuff to China, then there is no reason to sort it at all. Also, what do you suppose the stupid 'Carbon Footprint' is of the totally unneccessary shipping of rubbish half way around the world?

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

"But let us note that the general theme of the story is not new. Recycling is mad, bad and a waste of resources that is being done at the demand of an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels, members of which have no doubt done very well from the arrangement. This has been understood for years."

Quite.
It seems our 'journalists' are of a similar ilk to our 'scientists', still I suppose we should be grateful that the Mail has reported it, but as for the loss-making Guardian .......

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

A few years ago I bought DVD of wartime information films. It ran to about six hours but I was amazed that about ninety percent of it was urging the public to recycle (paper for cartridge wadding more than metal interestingly). But I seem to remember hearing that most of the recycled material at the time was useless. It was the act of "doing ones bit" that the government were intersted in.

And I think a lot of that is true of the current recycling push. Get everyone invested in it then they are all on the green side. We are all doing "our bit" regardless of its uselessness. And I suspect that not many want to hear they have been wasting their time on this, they'd rather carry on as if here were a purpose.

Apr 6, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDuncan

Recycling aluminum seems to work here in the colonies. In fact it works so well that thieves intercept the curb-side sortings and remove the aluminum which is then sold to a scrap dealer.

Apr 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Which presumably gets melted down to make cola cans which then get stolen again and melted down to form cola cans etc. Voilà, the perfect recycling system. No land-fill, no ships to the far east. Perfect.

Apr 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Peter Stroud
One useful thing that Cameron could do is to set up a small unit in each Department (we'd never notice one more and it should be possible to second the three or four people needed to do some useful work for a change) with the specific remit of taking each EU Directive, starting with the most recent and working back to Day1, reading what it actually said and comparing that with any additional burdens, requirements, gold-plating, troughing opportunities, etc. that had been added by Whitehall.
While I am no fan of the EU particularly my experience here in France is not that the French ignore EU Directives but that they interpret them in the way which will put the least burden on the French citizen, unlike the British Civil Service which appears to aim at increasing the regulatory burden well beyond the intention of the Commission.
If that problem could be sorted out then just maybe the British in general would feel just a little less antipathetic to the EU and in return the powers-that-be in Brussels might feel a little less antipathetic to the UK which it frequently accuses (with some justification) of misrepresenting much of what it does.
The possibility of some renegotiation then becomes much more likely as other EU countries, also aware of the failings of Brussels, feel more able to side with the UK's position, which at the moment they don't.
It always amazes me the extent to which people in general (and those in positions of authority especially) appear genuinely to want, and claim to be working for, a particular outcome while all the time behaving in a manner that a five-year-old can see is inevitably going to be counter-productive.

Apr 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I burn all mine for the aerosols.

Apr 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Mike Jackson suggests a very useful process. In the US, we experimented with "sunset legislation" of the sort that expires if not renewed by vote after an appropriate interval. The idea that the effect of legislation (regulation) may be different from expected shouldn't be difficult to convey. Certainly one unintended consequence of our regulation of the interaction between horses and steam locomotives is the almost absolute elimination of the problem.

How good it would be to have regulations fund their own recertification and failing the recertification die. Obviously the decertifiers would need assurance of continuing employment.

Apr 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Duncan 1:12 - re: doing our bit.

That was the basis on which many nice older houses had their wrought iron gates and railings cut away during the early years of WW2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050359@N07/3432234522/

Useless as raw material for armaments, they gates and railings were quietly dumped at sea. But it gave the house the look of one which had done its bit.

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

jferguson
As I've said in a different context elsewhere, the only law that can be guaranteed to be obeyed is the Law of Unintended Consequences.
I agree that those who are vetting EU Directives should not themselves be liable to suffer the immediate consequences — it is asking too much of human nature to expect that much altruism from a comparatively lowly-paid civil servant!
The reason why my idea is probably doomed to failure is that the Civil Service unions will refuse to allow their members to do the work in case they put some other civil servant out of a job, "jobs" (as opposed to something of practical use like "work") being the rationale behind most unions.

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I got stuck behind a dustcart where I live last week. The guys working on it brought the wheelie bins to the back of the cart and tipped them. Then when the empty wheelie bin was returned to ground level by the machine they tipped into it the contents of both the recycling bin and food waste bin from each house and then tipped these into the cart.

What is the point of us being "encouraged" by local govt to recycle if it all gets mixed on the street outside our doors?

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Duncan 1:12 - re: doing our bit.

That was the basis on which many nice older houses had their wrought iron gates and railings cut away during the early years of WW2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050359@N07/3432234522/

Useless as raw material for armaments, they gates and railings were quietly dumped at sea. But it gave the house the look of one which had done its bit.

Not so. The scrap iron and steel would have been used to make new steel in an Open Hearth furnace in the local steel plant. They could actually use 100% cold scrap as a charge.

Even today scrap steel is used in all steel plants in the UK as raw material for new steel and the surplus is exported. From BRMA website http://www.recyclemetals.org/about_metal_recycling

In 2005, 13 million tonnes of metal was recycled in the UK. Around 40% of this was used in the UK, and the remaining 60% exported worldwide: the UK produces considerably more scrap than is required for domestic markets.

ferrous scrap: 4.6 million tonnes of iron and steel and stainless steel scrap was supplied to steelworks in the UK, and 0.9 million tonnes to UK foundries; 6.1 million tonnes was exported. Major markets were Europe, particularly Spain, and Asia, particularly India. The worldwide market for ferrous scrap is predicted to continue its steady growth, which has averaged around 5% per annum over the past 12 years.
non-ferrous metals: over one million tonnes was processed. Approximately 45% of this was aluminium, 31% copper, and significant quantities of nickel, brass, zinc and lead. Non ferrous metals are traded on the London Metal Exchange, and therefore subject to volatility in commodity investments. UK exports topped 800,000 tonnes in 2005, a 20% increase on the previous year. Europe, China and India are the main destinations.
The UK is one of the five largest metal scrap exporting countries in the world.

Some 200/300 million tonnes a year of aggregate is used in the UK leaving plenty of holes for landfill.

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Mike Jackson,
My concern is that these bureaucratic jobs cost far more than the salaries and "benefits" paid. Some of these positions inflict incredible cost on businesses which are often required (speaking from experience) to educate the regulator sufficiently to understand the processes susceptible to the regulation and to understand the application of the regulations to that instance, and then to understand the actual exposure of that process to the regulation - all the time with permit to do anything useful pending "approval." If you haven't been through one of these experiences, Lewis Carroll would be instructive.

I thought it a bit like standing on the scaffold showing the hangman how to do it.

A while back, there was a discussion here on the burden of EU participation in terms of cost of compliance with this additional layer of regulation. I was astonished that some who responded to my possibly poorly put assertion seemed not to understand that this burden was there, that it was likely very costly, and often involved the imposition of ridiculous requirements.

I'm impressed that the French seen to take a more relaxed view toward all of this.

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

With certain exceptions (metal; car batteries etc) my experience when taking something I'm not sure of to the 'tip' is:
'In the skip, mate...'

Apr 6, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1
Apr 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Stephen Richards: Apr 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM |
"Which presumably gets melted down to make cola cans which then get stolen again and melted down to form cola cans etc. Voilà, the perfect recycling system. No land-fill, no ships to the far east. Perfect".

Afraid not. When aluminium cans became common, they were always made from new aluminium. Even now, only a small percentage at best is recycled from cans. Those cans are re-used in other alloys for other uses.

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Quite apart from EU directives, France has a fine crop of homegrown regulations, However, following a report on the regulatory burden on local authorities the French Government has promised a moratorium on new regulations and action to repeal existing ones. In the meantime, I expect that French Mayors will shrug their shoulders and continue to use their common sense.

http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2013/04/02/choc-de-simplification-promis-par-hollande-ayrault-annonce-les-1e-mesures_892956

One of the regulations uncovered in the report was article 230.5 of the Code Rural which prescribes the the quantities of hard boiled eggs which can be served in school canteens: 1/4 egg per child in Crèche, 1/2 egg in Nursery and a whole egg in Primary.

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

It seems to be different and rather more complex - and not a little messier - than the Mail reports. See Richard North's discussion of the issue at :

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83786

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Robert: Please re-read my post. I am aware of the well established market in scrap metal but I refer only to wrought iron, which was the material from which the great majority of removed gates and railings were made. This can, by a lengthy process, be made into a form of steel, but not one from which armaments can be made, which was the original justification for the vandalism. The ironware was removed as a gesture, and a useless one. Largely the same as most modern recycling.

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Useless as raw material for armaments, they gates and railings were quietly dumped at sea. But it gave the house the look of one which had done its bit.
Apr 6, 2013 at 2:07 PM Phil D

Sounds implausible on at least a couple of counts:

- Scrap iron, including cast iron, has always had significant value
- During WW2 shipping and transport was at a premium and dumping unwanted scrap iron would not have been high on the list of priorities.

On the other hand, all sorts of crazy things happen in wartime.

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:33 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Wrought iron is essentially pure iron. It is the best possible starting point for making steel of whatever final grade or specification.

Apr 6, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Needing a new washing machine I found out that I could have the old one recycled for £9.99. They would only remove it if it was easy to access, preferably outside. I duly put the old one outside while I thought about the new one and hey presto someone turned up at the door asking if they could take it. Recycling at it's best and cheapest.

Apr 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

This is what happens when you have a big stupid government machine given a top-down directive. It becomes a box ticking exercise and as long as the boxes are ticked, the original objective can be forgotten. The objective becomes to keep the machine in existence. Politicians find it easier to continue the nonsense than to say they were wrong and get rid of all the pointless jobs and costs.

If I recall correctly, this came from the EU and was pushed by Holland and Denmark, which being low lying had no scope for landfill because of groundwater contamination.. There's no shortage of potential suitable landfill sites in the UK, it's that new sites are not being licensed and landfill is taxed.

I wonder if it doesn't work in with the greater CO2 scam, in that this is a ritual which we are required to go through which reinforces the belief system surrounding the scam.

Apr 6, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

"The reason for this travesty is that you, the public, are not up to scratch"

The reason is that the policy was never thought through and there were no markets for most of the recycled materials. Those that had a market, such as metals, were already being recycled.

Apr 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

@Martin A. Your arguments about the value of scrap iron are no doubt valid. However, the fact remains that not only the ironwork but also pots and pans that people were encouraged to turn in were also dumped. It was basically cod-psychology to give people the impression that they were "doing their bit for the war effort". The whole matter is fairly well documented though I can't immediately give you chapter and verse. As you say, crazy things happen in war.

Apr 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

Phil D Apr 6, 2013 at 2:07 PM
"Useless as raw material for armaments, they gates and railings were quietly dumped at sea. But it gave the house the look of one which had done its bit."

Phil - Do you have any references for that?

Apr 6, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I recycle carbon.

Apr 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh.

DC - I remember reading that huge numbers of aluminium pans were handed in for scrap, "to build Spitfires", although the bottleneck in aircraft production was never airframe production.

Of course, in wartime, the priorities are all different, with what makes economic sense being nowhere on the list.

I imagine that the govt of the time got the scrap metal programmes going the moment it was apparent there *might* be a shortage. Where did aluminium come from in the early 40's? France perhaps? Not after 1940.

Once you've got an organisation like that set up and rolling, it's hard to throttle it back when you eventually find it's producing far more than really needed.

I'm not sure it was cod-psychology. People really were desperate to make a contribution.

In contrast to today when very few people I know are enthusiastic about having several wastebins and getting a criminal record if they put the wrong stuff in the wrong bin.

Like cosmic at Apr 6, 2013 at 4:14 PM , I think that the bin regulation enforcement and the conditioning of the population into acquiescence with stupid environmental regulations is part of the foundation the CO² scam rests on.

Apr 6, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I understand this EU directive originated because Holland was short of landfill space. Also a German company wanted to sell 100million households wheelie bins. Tip a nod to someone in the Commission, agree a percentage for him/her and out comes a directive and everyone's happy, except us proles who pick up the tab.
Prof. Kenneth Mellanby published a surprisingly interesting book: "Waste and Pollution the problem for Britain" (HarperCollins). In it he concluded that the UK had waste disposal 'sorted', but then along comes the EU directive and everything is messed up!!

Apr 6, 2013 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Here in Normandy, there are lots of tales of the Germans commandeering metal for scrap during WW2. One thing is certain: they were not doing it to raise anyone's morale.

Apr 6, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The story of Germans commandeering metal for scrap proves the point in the opposite direction: taking away personal property and wealth for ideological purposes, just like carbon taxes

Apr 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chorley

Martin A

The Germans left a lot of scrap iron behind them when they left Normandy after the battle of the Falaise pocket.

http://tinyurl.com/cdfluxs

Do you know the memorial and museum at Mont Ormel? If not, I recommend a visit.

Apr 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

In the works:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/target_review.htm

http://www.wastetargetsreview.eu/section.php/3/1/project_schedule/f356d0d85a6a43d59f24bf9eaf0d4e52

http://www.wastemodel.eu/

Apr 6, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I seem to remember that it was particularly the scrap aluminium that was of no use at the time. My point really was that getting people to recycle seems to be great method of population control and planting ideas beyond the initial brief.

Apr 6, 2013 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDuncan

Commercially-driven recycling has a long and proud history. Think gold, silver, copper, lead.

But glass? Really? Glass is made from sand. Are we short of ... sand? And the biggest use of recycled plastics seems to be ... [roll of drums]... making those bins for recycling. Presto! Perpetual motion!

Apr 6, 2013 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

It is ironic (sorry - couldn't resist!) that the proponents of expensive and pointless recycling are the same people who witter on about CO2 footprints, pollution, etc.

The CO2 footprint of most recycling - starting with all the extra bins, trucks to collect them and right through to producing a low value product in most cases - is far larger than simply incinerating or burying all the garbage together and manufacturing a new product. Where that is not the case, the economic incentive kicks in - people don't chuck broken gold chains in the bin - and things that are worth recycling get recycled.

Paper recycling is a very dirty process which involves using bleach which then has to be dumped somewhere (often into a waterway) - to produce the crappy quality paper that many offices use because it's a "green" thing to do. Alternatively, paper products can be mashed up with wood pulp to make cardboard - hardly a high value product or one which is in short supply.

Metal recycling uses a lot of energy and is a volatile business because its viability depends on prevailing metal prices. For example, where I live there is a company which sometimes will pick up your unwanted metal products for nothing, and at other times charges a fee. It just depends on spot prices for metals like iron ore and aluminium.

Bins full of rotting food scraps are a smelly, maggot-infested health hazard during the Australian summer. You can just imagine what prawn heads and meat scraps are like after a few days in a plastic bin in 35 degree heat. Why sending us back to the Middle Ages in terms of waste disposal and public health is considered to be a triumph for civilisation is unfathomable.

Apr 7, 2013 at 1:44 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I only recycle what I can't burn. I have a slow combustion wood heater (which means it has a door to keep the smell up the chimney and not in the house). You get a great amount of heat out of plastics and it makes the wood pile last longer in our increasingly lengthening winters. I burn everything.

Don't worry, I'm in the country, so the neighbours don't suffer from the smell.

I'm beginning to get clumsy, though, and I'm popping more into the regular bin. I'm getting angry with green policy, so I'm not as interested in scrubbing out cat food tins. It's minor retaliation, as yet, and I reckon I'm not the only one doing it.

Our collection trucks (in Australia) also frequently upend both types of bin into the one truck. I figure if they can't bother, why should I? But mostly, I just plain resent "having to" without choice.

Apr 7, 2013 at 5:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterA.D. Everard

My rule is simple: if they won't pay you for it then it's not worth recycling.

Apr 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Davis

I refuse to wash my recyclable rubbish as is supposedly required as the process is environmental nonsense - wastes drinking water and loads the sewerage system with raw food which is harder to treat than human waste. If there is merit in the process it should be done at the recycling centre where the water can be recovered, filtered and reused.

In this area we have alternate week collection for "recycleable" and "non recycleable" waste. I cannot believe that most households do anything but fill their wheelie bins alternately with random rubbish. It seems unlikely that the compliance level is such that any given refuse truck load will not be hopelessly contaminated with non recycleables.

Apr 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

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