Friday, 21 March 2008

Where to put it?

It appears that these days I can't go anywhere without talking about rubbish. I popped out to our local Tesco Express today and bumped into a local web designer I know. When asked how things were going, I couldn't help but drop The Rubbish Diet into conversation. After all it has been a huge part of my life recently, so it was hard to ignore it really.

So with one question following another, there we were stood in an aisle discussing the attributes of packaging. I couldn't resist highlighting the misleading german green dot and almost felt the temptation to conduct a whole consumer survey...ha, ha, it was very tempting indeed. Even if I don't, I think someone should.

One pertinent question that came up was,

"If I'm not sure what to do with a piece of rubbish, should I send it to landfill or recycle?"


So what should you do?

My top tip would be to ring the council and check. You'll get the right answer straight away and they'll probably thank you for being vigilant.

But what if it's 7 o'clock at night and you haven't got the Waste Officer's mobile number?

You could leave it in a holding bay, store it temporarily until you get the answer. Alternatively, you could check the council's website.

This is all well and good for the keen recyclers amongst us, but many people out there may have much busier lives and a lot more on their mind than researching a piece of trash! So, where should you put it when push comes to shove and you haven't got a clue.

If you really haven't got any idea, then the only option is sadly landfill because your little bit of rubbish might just lead to the contamination of a whole batch of recyclates, which means the whole lot might end up in landfill.

Wow, that's one hell of a responsibility.

If you don't believe me, just check out the following policies and news stories. They just highlight how seriously councils take contamination and how expensive it is to manage.

Contamination advice and policies

Contamination stories
Bedfordshire On Sunday
Liverpool Daily Post
Mid Sussex Times
Portsmouth The News
Southampton Daily Echo
Swansea Waterfrontonline
BBC Online - Recycling ended up in Landfill

The best bet is to make sure you are armed with the right knowledge and know the right person to ask.

As with everything, preparation is the key!

So if you haven't got your info to hand already, ring your council and ask for it. If the information isn't sufficiently explicit, then have the confidence to suggest a few improvements!

Call me an old troublemaker, but we all know it's worth it, especially if it helps slim your bin and promotes effective recycling.


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