Waste solutions require forward (or reverse) thinking
I listened with interest to reports of Eric Pickles' war on wheelie bins, and his desire to end the scourge of our bin-blighted streets.
While I fully endorse the sentiment, it is a bit rich – and a bit late. Some forward thinking from those we pay to provide services on our behalf, if not at our request, would have seen this problem coming long ago. I did.
At a local level I have for years questioned the wisdom of granting planning permission for the construction of little box houses with no storage space at all for the rubbish we are increasingly required to store in our own homes, in a wide variety of ugly bins, boxes and bags; until such time as they are collected, at different times on different days. Remembering the waste and recycling collection rota, along with bank holidays, is almost as bad as trying to remember which child does which after-school activity on which day in which place.
Whatever our views on Europe, what we seem not to be able to do is to learn anything from those that are in it with us. There are many countries on the continent, where instead of our inefficient system of bi-weekly house-to-house collections, they simply have a skip at the end of each road, where residents can dispose of their rubbish daily, for a swift daily collection; no unsightly roadside bins and no lorries blocking the roads.
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I bitterly resent the comments about the waste that 'we' generate. In many cases it is not us, the tax-paying consumers, that generate the waste, it is the manufacturers and the supermarkets that generate it, while we, having paid for it, are then penalised for trying to dispose of it.
What we must do is insist that the supermarkets, where most people do their shopping, install Argos-like counters where on doing the weekly shop you take back your empties and get a discount on the next shop. Pressure must also be put on the packaging industry to reduce the amount of packaging used for their goods – increasingly used to make ever smaller sized products look like they are still worth buying.
As I live in a flat and do not lead a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 life, disposing of rubbish remains an issue for me, which I largely overcome by removing the packaging before I leave the store. I don't want it, didn't ask for it, so let them deal with it. They make enough profit and this must clearly be an argument for buying goods closer to home where minimum transportation requires minimum packaging.
I'm old enough to remember the old Corona bottles; many a child supplemented their pocket money by taking them back for a few pence.