Category Archives: west devon
Barriers to Recycling
I’m recycling quite a lot less of my plastic than I used to. And metal, though there was never so much of that. It’s become too impractical.
Specifically, while I am still recycling bottles (milk and fruit juices) and some miscellaneous stuff, most food packaging is going straight in the general waste.
The background to this is twofold. First, a bit of idiocy from West Devon’s recycling services. Plastic and metal don’t go into a sensible/practical recycling bin, but instead into an unwieldy bag similar to those more commonly used for gardening waste. Second, I have a problem with rodents getting into the kitchen.
West Devon’s overall recycling is quite a pain. In addition to the silly bag for plastic and metal and the general waste, there’s separate food waste (fairy nuff) and two separate plastic boxes that are scarcely used. Fine if you have something like a utility room with lots of spare space, but out of all proportion for a house with no dedicated space.
OK, the general waste is fine: I have a general bin. The food waste is fine: a little caddy is provided. Two robust plastic boxes stack in an under-the-worktop space. But there’s nothing to do with the ridiculous plastics bag, other than to fold it and stash it away during the week.
So plastic waste either goes straight in the general waste or accumulates through the week. And if the latter, it attracts rodents to come and get any food remnants that may have survived a rinse. So only robust bottles with robust lids can be allowed to remain around when empty.
There must be many households blighted by these recycling arrangements, including houses quite a lot smaller than mine. Aren’t we long overdue an upgrade to communal waste and recycling facilities, as are common in (at least some) continental countries, and now Brighton in Blighty?
I wonder what the waste services would do if I abandoned the bag and put the plastics into one of the robust nearly-unused boxes instead? At least there they could be shut away until collection day.
Tunes like the Londonderry Air or Simon&Garfunkel numbers may be inoffensive enough at first hearing. Even enjoyable in a sufficiently fine rendition. But when they’re muzaked to buggery and repeated hour after hour it becomes torture.
The amplified buskers appeared in town yesterday, inflicting exactly that on a wide area. As a consequence the day was a write-off, and I’m attempting to catch up on my work today instead. Worse, unlike a predictable nuisance like the yobs club it’s not something I can plan for ahead of time (for yesterday evening I had a ticket to see our local musical society’s production of Oliver, timed for Friday evening precisely because that’s always a good time to be out of the house).
About lunchtime I finally snapped and called Environmental Health. They told me they’d had a word with this busker last time he was in town, but weren’t going to take any more action. Also said that they’d had trouble talking to the offensive busker, because he didn’t seem to speak English!
For my part, I’m happy to see an honest busker down in town, but when they use electronic amplification to inflict themselves on a wide area it crosses beyond the boundary of acceptability. Would it be too much to have and enforce a no-amplification rule? It would have the side-effect of helping select for those buskers with at least sufficient talent to work without electronic aids: not a high bar, but much better than nothing!
Is there anything I as an individual can do when TPTB say too much work?
Someone else’s rubbish!
Our kerbside recycling has since last autumn largely replaced trips to the recycling centre. In some ways it’s an improvement: certainly getting rid of bottles/etc weekly without hassle, and having somewhere to dump the junkmail without first having to bring it upstairs is icing on the cake. And the food waste recycling is altogether new here!
But not all is well. The way they collect it leaves a residue of uncollected stuff which seems to differ week by week. And the killer is that the residue ends up not with whoever dumped it, but with someone more-or-less random. And we’re not talking someone dumping litter here (though I daresay that happens occasionally too), but the very people who collect the rubbish.
Today I finally got around to complaining. After last time I expected an ordeal with their web forms and I got it – in spades! But eventually I coaxed the form into accepting my complaint, which I’ll let speak for itself:
Your collection of green-box recycling is flawed.
It seems to vary week-by-week, but the most usual pattern is that a team come ahead of the collection lorry, and sort the recycling. At that point, waste of one kind may move from my box to a neighbour’s, and vice versa.
When the collection follows, they seemingly reject some things. For example, carrier bags which the team doing the sorting use to collect items such as bottles, cans or paper. Sometimes items that are harder to identify.
The outcome is that I am regularly left with residual items of other people’s rubbish in my green box. The system has become one not of collection but of somewhat-random exchange!
The first couple of times this happened, I dealt with it. But I’ve had enough: I’m not taking the green box back into my house until and unless it’s cleared of other people’s rubbish!
A second minor complaint: they sometimes exchange green boxes, lids, etc. I have in the past (on separate occasions) been left with a non-matching box and lid, and with a box that was sticky to the touch!
Worse, the boxes are sometimes left right in front of the door to trip over when one just steps outside: this is an accident waiting to happen!