Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sort It Out!

Like much of the country my refuse collections have changed to copious wheelie bins which are collected on different weeks according to type. I currently have five bins in which to sort different items. The reasons for this change have been well-documented; the local council’s priority is to appease the EU rather than their own electorate. This is something acknowleged by my own council (page 10 - my emphasis):
8. Landfill Tax

8.1.1. Landfill tax is to have a ceiling level of £80 per tonne by 2014/15 – although no further measures were added to this existing commitment by the national waste review. Landfill tax is now the main fiscal instrument encouraging the diversion of waste from landfill. In 2011/12 landfill tax, set at £56 per tonne, cost Oxfordshire County Council over £6 million, an increase of around £3 million since 2006/7.
8.1.2. Total expenditure on landfill tax has increased despite overall waste arisings within Oxfordshire having dropped since 2007. Added to this, increased recycling and composting levels have meant that there has been a sharp decrease in the amount of household waste sent to landfill. This has helped reduce the financial impact of the escalating landfill tax rate, but it still remains a significant proportion of the costs of waste management.
I don't disagree with the concept of recycling per se, but personal objections to the undemocratic reasons for the current system has led me to ignore the council's intentions. I don't sort out rubbish - it all goes in whatever bin is due for collection that week. Thus de facto I still have weekly bin collections. In addition I also microwaved the 'chips' that are inserted underneath into the bin's lip.

As insignificant as these actions may seem costing the council money by disregarding recycling targets, thus adding to landfill, forces them to raise extra revenue. The more they have to do this the trickier it is for them to get away with it. One person ignoring recycling demands is an irritation; many ignoring them is a crisis. It's a pretty damning indictment of a country's affairs where political rebellion is conducted via its bin collections.

For around three years the indications were that the council were relatively relaxed about this compared to some, however this week stickers (pictured above) have now started to appear on non-recycling bins, including mine.

A quick perusal of neighbours' bins show that some have stickers and some don't. Those that don't are empty and those that do are only partially empty. Clearly the conclusion must be made that binmen are now manually sorting out the rubbish before emptying the bin into the cart. It's a strong indication that South Oxfordshire Council are now seeking to become tougher on their recycling policies as it "remains a significant proportion of the costs of waste management". One senses a battle in the not-too-distant future.

And it is with some irony that the plastic sticker the council have used telling me to "sort it out" is very likely to be non-recyclable.

1 comment:

  1. I have decided to use the system to my advantage now, which makes rebellion more productive. Fortnightly collection suits me because I don't have to lug the bin up a load of steps every week. I have sworn a solemn oath to never waste my life washing garbage, which means I cannot use the recycle bin for religious reasons. It thus remains empty and clean for the delivery of parcels. I recycle bottles to fill with homebrew, so that I can disobey nanny's limits regularly while avoiding excise duty.