If you go down to the recycling centre today…

Filed in Blog, Videos by on June 6, 2011 15 Comments
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Mrs Green checks out the tetra pak recycling

Mrs Green checks out the tetra pak recycling

Last week was half term and I promised Little Miss Green we’d sort out her bedroom.

After spending 30 minutes picking up 2 loads of washing from between all the detritus on her floor <sigh> we set to work in serious ‘declutter’ mode.

3 days later we emerged triumphant with 4 huge boxes of ‘stuff’ for the charity shop and a car load of recycling.

Her room was unrecognisable and she, although complaining for the majority of the time from start to finish, beamed with pride as she took in the loveliness of her room.

Ever since that busy time, Little Miss Green has either been outside sitting up a tree or lounging on her bed making the most of her calm, ordered space.

As you’ll be aware yourselves it’s one thing to do the decluttering and sorting; but it’s quite another to actually get the stuff out of the house, into the car and off to the recycling centre or charity shops.

On a beautiful sunny day we decided to rid our home of the past week’s work and arrived at our recycling centre to see a sight to behold.

“Not my responsibility!” was the phrase that came to mind. I’m afraid I slate the British attitude on my video, but ya know, being British myself, I think that’s ok; I can take it and I hope you can too.

I intended to finish off the film by urging you lovely people to be one of the one who cares but Mr G was signalling to me that the battery was about to run out. If you come across a scene like the one in the film, please be one of the people who actually takes action by ringing the appropriate people, rather than thinking someone else will have taken care of it as happened at our local centre…

If you don’t we might just end up with a Naples situation on our hands, and none of us would like that.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (15)

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  1. Katy says:

    You can also use fixmystreet.com to report these things – you don’t even have to know which council or department to phone, it works it out from the location you put on the map, and the category of fault you report. The response is pretty good in our area.

  2. Julie Day says:

    I had this at Sainsbury’s a couple of times and reported it to their staff. They contacted the firm responsible and eventually after a few weeks the bins were emptied.

  3. CarSue says:

    I work at our local recycling centre, and we have drop boxes like these. If the bins are full, we have terrible problems with people dumping their items right on the ground, which frequently become litter by the time we are able to respond.

    In addition to reporting full bins, I would urge anyone in the same situation to PLEASE not leave your items on the ground! If we are going to do the “responsible” thing by recycling, we need to be responsible for doing it correctly, too. Keep in mind that the driver of the truck that collects those containers will collect the bin, and then have to get out and collect all the others that thoughtless people have left behind. This sort of irresponsibility raises the costs of these drop-off stations, and puts them at risk.

    Thanks so much for highlighting a very important topic, Mrs. G!!

  4. Katy says:

    CarSue, interesting to hear the view from the other side… at your site, do you have a way to feed back to the powers that be and let them know that the bins need emptying more often?

    It’s so easy to discourage people who feel that they’ve made a considerable effort to do “the right thing” and recycle, only for the council to not keep their part of the bargain by accepting the recycling. They’re likely to not only dump their recyclables in the bin next time, but also moan about the experience to their friends, who are also put off.

    My local council site seems to do a great job at keeping containers available to use, so I guess they empty them before they are 100% full. It’s less good at the supermarket car park sites, probably because there are no on-site staff to monitor them. As well as overflowing recycling banks, there’s nowhere for people to leave (recycle!) the carrier bags and cardboard boxes they bring the bottles etc. in – yet it would be so easy to provide them. I’ve suggested it but heard nothing.

  5. Attila says:

    I do see that dumping your stuff by the full bin is a problem but there are some things which have to go to the recycling centre/dump 4 miles away, on the other side of a busy and congested town and we need to combine that with other errands. We have to empty our car so we can do that. It’s either dump the stuff by the container or go all the way home, empty the car and go out again to do the other errands and then do the dump run a second time. And when people pay their council tax which covers waste disposal, it’s a bit much to be asked to go home again. Not to mention the environmental impact.

  6. CarSue says:

    @ Katy:

    Our bins are emptied on a regular schedule. And yes, we have a phone number posted so that folks can call if the bins are full. We’ve increased the frequency with which bins are emptied specifically because of this!

  7. Joddle says:

    well done Mrs G you are so right somebody has to act in these situations!

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Katy: Oh fantastic – thanks Katy; I’d not heard of it

    @Julie Day: yes I remember you chasing it up – a few weeks though; I wonder how much stuff was landfilled in that time…

    @CarSue: thanks for the insights Sue. Over here I’m told that if you dump things around the container in a council site it gets landfilled – so it doesn’t get recycled anyway; it’s just not worth leaving it…

    @Katy: I agree that this sort of thing can put people off from trying again; it’s a difficult balance but it wouldn’t be difficult with today’s technology for some sort of chip in the bins that alert the offices to empty them

    @Attila: Agree it’s very difficult to balance the whole issue – if you’ve gone out of your way to go there then you don’t want to take it all back home again…

    @Joddle: thanks Joddle – all it takes is a phonecall and any of us can do it 🙂

  9. Ann says:

    Most of our recycling is picked up in our large beautiful blue recycling bins fortnightly, so we rarely have to visit the main centres now. But it used to be a problem when we had to use the supermarket ones. We quickly learnt not to visit there immediately after a bank holiday when people seem to treat a visit to the recycling centres as part of their day out. Probably because, like weekends, it is when people who work can get there. Unfortunately once one person dumps their stuff outside the bin others think it is acceptable and follow suit, maybe thinking of the cost of fuel to get them there.

  10. LJayne says:

    @Ann, we have beautiful blue recycling bins too, they are great aren’t they 🙂 I still have to take tetrapaks to the tip though.

  11. Jane says:

    I did this in Dartmouth a couple of weeks ago. I used my mobile and they wanted an address and of course I didn’t know what it was! I would love to be able to text instead – it would cost me less.

    I wish people would SQUASH

  12. Jane says:

    their cartons – it is easy and makes such a lot more space.

    I also love fixmystreet.com – the maps are a good way to pinpoint a location.

    I’m surprised the banks don’t have individual registration numbers that would help pinpoint them.

    I agree SO MUCH that people are often en route somewhere else and need to be able to empty their cars/drop their recycling before carrying out other chores. FULL BANKS ARE VERY DELETERIOUS giving people another excuse not to. Don’t let it be the case.

  13. Rachel says:

    Although I do agree with everything you say and it’s proof that no one has called, we had this situation with personal waste and with street lighting in my old council and I and my neighbour called on a frequent basis. Three weeks in, only after photographic evidence being SENT to the council did they finally come to pick up the waste and the street lights….they’re STILL not working. So sometimes, with the best will in the world, people do try (not enough of course!) and the council/responsible party, doesn’t react.

    What my biggest bug bear is with recycling is the people who then just see this as an opportunity to chuck their unsorted recycling in front of the collections. Clearly it would take five seconds to open their carrier bag and put the stuff in the right places, but they see the overload as an excuse not to bother.


  14. Poppy says:

    Really must point out that the Tetra Pack bins like the one in Mrs G’s picture, are emptied by Tetra and not the councils. I queried the shape of them and was told that they come along with a large vacuum cleaner type device and suck up the cartons through the holes.

  15. Mrs Green says:

    @Ann: It’s great that you have such good recycling facilities Ann. Maybe if they spread across the country we won’t get fly tipping at the bring banks any more 😉

    @Jane: A text would be good, ah yes and some registration number as to where you are phoning from! (although I suspect they move all the banks around)

    @Rachel: Thanks for sharing your story Rachel; yep I agree we don’t always know the full story,

    @Poppy: I’ve seen them working; it’s like Noo Noo from the teletubbies LOL!

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