I would like to point out before you read this, this review is about waste disposal and management and what I think about them.
I have strong views on litter / waste disposal. As a child my father always taught my sister and I that we should throw all rubbish away in a bin. I mean let's be honest; it isn't like you are ever that far away from one.
We were also brought up knowing and learning to respect our surroundings, be aware of people and wildlife and not to be selfish.
Since the days of being a child myself when my sister and I used to do litter picking in our street and made a conscious effort to tell all our friends about why throwing litter on the floor was bad for the environment, things have come a long way.
Nowadays we have recycling, black bins, green bins, black boxes, blue boxes, we have it all, and that is just at home. At the supermarkets and even the dump now, you have to separate all rubbish and recycle it in to different categories. I am all for this, and am happy that my local council has taken recycling and waste disposal seriously. However with anything there is always both positive and negative things.
I have listed what I view as both positive and negatives things that have come from this recycling and updated waste management plan by my local council (I would tell you who but I don't want to name and perhaps shame).
Waste being reused rather than thrown in a land fill.
Less waste causing pollution.
A healthier atmosphere.
Less impact on the environment, like the glaciers and animals around the planet.
Cutting our carbon footprint.
Using less trees and other natural resources by reusing them again and again.
Workers are careless and untidy, often dropping items and leaving them on the street.
Wildlife get caught up in all types of litter, from eating it and dying to becoming dependant on it for food.
All these boxes and bins take up a lot of room.
Time consuming process separating all your waste in to recycling categories.
Planning is always behind and what we needed 10 years ago is only being introduced now.
I'm sure there are more of each but I currently can't think of any, I will add to the above as and when I do, or feel free to comment your suggestions.
I think it is a shame that people have been forced to adopt this attitude rather than adapt to it naturally, we are the most clever species on the planet and yet we are the ones destroying it for not only future generations of our own species, but for all species that live here.
I think waste disposal should always be top of the agenda and planning should be continual to limit further damage to this planet.
We should really have taken on this attitude towards waste disposal years ago and are still behind many other European countries when it comes to waste and recycling but why isn't America being forced in to contributing more to lessen the carbon footprint of a country that has the most waste in the world.
I know this all costs money and in terms of politics and what people want to hear, this isn't always at the top, but it should be, yes you may care more about how much council tax you have to pay this year but what about the planet we live on? If we ruin it, none of the other stuff matters, none of us will be here!
The thing that annoys me mostly is if we all made the smallest of changes we would soon be on track to having a better planet. I can't stand it when I see kids throwing litter on the floor when less than a few metres away stands a wheelie bin. Or worse still when I'm in the car and see someone throw some litter out of the window, surely this is more hassle than actually leaving it in the car until you get out, and yes find a bin.
I honestly think schools should educate both children and parents in waste disposal and management, if parents aren't teaching children then teachers should, we need the next generation to care more than the current one.
Ignorance is not bliss from those of you who throw litter to those in power concentrating on inevitably less important things than waste management and planet management.
I know this review isn't solely based on waste disposal but I feel it is all interlinked.
Waste disposal was, until a few years ago, a topic that really wasn't that controversial. We generated waste, we binned it and the lid was shut. As, however, we became increasingly aware of the effect (actual or supposed) of our waste on the environment attitudes started to change. Various "forward thinkers" took it upon themselves to spread the recycling bug. Bearded men with cord trousers and plain Jane women with hippy skirts could be seen trudging along the roads by foot or, for the enlightened, on bicycles, to these rather strange domed receptacles that started springing up in (ironically) supermarket car parks and the like. In would go the newspapers and glass bottles and our "Good Life" pair would trek back with a smug look on their faces and a warm feeling in their hearts.
How things have changed. Today we are both more aware of methods of waste disposal and also the generation of waste itself with recyclable/lower packaging requirements part of many people's shopping habits.
Waste disposal became a very big issue where I live as our local council was one of the first to move to fortnightly collections of rubbish alternating weekly between recyclables and general waste. With chipped bins (supposedly for collection of route data rather than data from individual houses) we had to learn a new way of disposing of our waste. If your general waste bin is too full for the lid to shut flat then it won't be collected (and there is power to fine). You can chuck out as much recyclable material as you like though. Rubbish "sorting" became the norm - if you didn't sort then you'd have too much waste for the general bin.
There are still problems though. In the early days we'd still have to make separate trips to the bottle banks if we wanted to recycle glass as this was not collected. Now it is but there are still items that are more recyclable than some that are not collected.
Green and garden waste used to be collected in special sacks that you purchased from the council. These were collected separately from the general waste. Now, apparently, if we want our garden waste collected we need another wheelie bin - a complete "no win". Many folks don't have the room to store a 3rd Wheelie bin and, if you do, you'll certainly generate more garden waste than the bin will hold each time you mow the lawn and trim a hedge. Given the fortnightly collection of this waste what are you meant to do with the extra for the additional fortnight (assuming of course that you don't need to mow the lawn again in the interim). Apparently the change was brought about because it would reduce the carbon footprint of the refuse lorry as it would only need to attend those properties that had subscribed to the scheme. I can't help but think that this is rather failed logic - unless whole streets opt out the refuse lorry still has to drive past. Add to this the fact that many folks will still head off to the tip in their cars to get rid of the waste (for there's nowhere else that it can be dumped legally and many do not have the space (or need) for a compost heap) and I suspect that all we will achieve is a rise in the carbon footprint.
In a month or so we are to meet yet another recycling initiative - food waste. A worktop caddy will be used in conjunction with a sealed bin to collect yet another type of waste. I'm glad they're starting this in the winter - very sound. In the winter we won't have hot sunshine to bake the food. I have a south facing garden and, unless I want to keep my caddy at the far end of the garden, no shade. That's going to be pleasant in the summer! I've already decided that I need to dedicate a freezer draw to waste food which I will just empty once a week into the bin!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-recycling. I'm not majorly inconvenienced by any of these initiatives. My issue is that they seem to miss much of the point. Those of us that dutifully traipsed off to the recycling plants when it was no longer de rigueur to wear corduroy or flowing skirts would recycle anyway. We're the folks who watch our waste (my wheelie is never more than half full over a fortnight). Those who did not recycle still don't really. I have neighbours who, despite having households half the size of ours still seem to fill their bins to overflowing every week. I know of folks who have no storage space who simply don't use the recycling bin at all as they have nowhere to keep it (and they certainly don't take the recycling to the tip where it can be sorted). I've noticed a dramatic increase in dumped rubbish around our recreation areas and it's not just the kind of rubbish that one used to see once in a while (the dumped washing machine that seemed to be obligatory on any common land at one stage). There are piles of garden waste (which I suppose one could argue will biodegrade in time) littering the lightly wooded areas around us. The public bins in the local park are full to brimming every day with waste that one assumes folk can't fit in their own bins. All that seems to be being achieved here is a movement of the problem.
There's a heavy fiscal incentive for the councils and local authorities to reduce the waste that they send to landfill. With the current squeeze on budgets they need to do all they can to avoid the landfill taxes. I'm not certain that they have really thought these things through though. I fear that the reaction of many councils has been a little knee-jerk. They see a solution but fail to think it through fully. Asking people to change their behaviour is never going to be easy or swift and, what many of those in power fail to appreciate is the fact that what might be easy for them to change might not be so easy for others. Refuse receptacles that can be accommodated in the grounds of a large 5-bed detached house might not be so easily housed in a 2-bed terraced property with a postage stamp for a garden. I have a utility room with a spare cupboard for my recycling - I have friends who struggle to fit a domestic bin in their kitchen without trying to store other waste too.
Undoubtedly many of these schemes have worked to push the headline recycling/dumping ratios up. But I wonder. 5 or 10 years down the line will we be picking up ever-increasing bills for the cleaning up of our urban environments from illegally dumped waste? Will our carbon footprint actually be increasing again as more folks have the desire to recycle but find that their authorities are actually making it harder for them? Will houses start to be built with dedicated waste facilities (storage or otherwise)?
No system will ever be ideal and there will be those who would damn a scheme before it starts. I just wonder whether we're going the right way about this issue.
Perhaps a greater emphasis should be placed on packaging and encouraging a return to old-fashioned shopping. Teach a family to use food sensibly. Offer incentives to package goods fairly. Remove the need for "jazzy marketing" to big up goods. For much of the time we have little real choice about the amount of waste we produce.
In a consumer society waste is, and will remain a big issue. We demand lots and expect more. Perhaps it's time to look for those corduroy wearing folk again - what are they doing now? Could we do that too or would it make our lives unbearable or dour?
We need to think, then act, then think again. Unfortunately, for those charged with our waste disposal I fear they acted before they thought (and does ANYONE have an example of a waste pilot that didn't go into full service?!).
We've come full circle and I think it's up to us now to take responsibility and regulate our own waste. We need to make our own trade-offs and our own calculations as to what is and is not acceptable.
EURO - TRASH
Today you don't have to look too hard and view a politically correct message from your local council, shoving their big font junk through your post-box, stating on a non recyclable piece of flimsy paper the entrapment laws that will be enforced if you do not comply to strict measures of the 'waste disposal' protocols. - To say I take interest in the monotonous long drawn out blurb giving diagrams in how to get rid of your empties, is about the same boredom factor as reading the 'new self assessment' laws that don't really change except in 211.8pt when one word is 'US' rather than 'THEM'. The country has officially got grid-locked due to red-tape. Bureaucrats make their position soiled by importance by 'doubling up on what is in their in-tray to the out-tray'. The added complexities in the red tape are in-place for authorities to claim their fines from the bewildered. Electronic devices are in the bin lids for that reason, to gain revenue, not for the treasury but for councilors Christmas bonuses. The clout of showing the 'Global Warming' card is a weak argument also, but the local authorities will throw this claim into the foil where-ever possible; the greener ideology is paramount, but it falls down at grass roots level in the UK.
UK public has systematically had the enforcement officers hitting hard at the hard working public on the waste disposal mechanisms without infiltrating it throughout the food-chain. This is therefore not a green matter, nor is it for the better of the planet. It is a refuge tax on living, and waste is part of living whereby you have to consume food which is firstly not packaged to any regulatory requirements by packaging enforcement officers. Packaging has to be stripped down to parts as most have different material components, making individuals more prone for them to make mistakes and collecting fines of up to 100.00 GBP which will the subsequently no doubt be sent via the court system which then accompanies themselves with mountains of paper-work to continue to flout the 'green policies' through the courts. Making a mockery of any carbon footprint or any green policies, as the court system embroiders a non green culture.
However how Whitehall dresses up the fees, it is another tax system that is as bad as taxing the air you breathe; except it is under waste disposal heading. No chips are required in refuge bins other than building up finances; eventually CCTV will be introduced via MT Mobile Technology to huge databases across the UK just to check your filling up the correct amount of refuge in the correct compartment at the correct time of collection. By engaging in chip formatted refuge concepts opens up a huge worm factory, for years to come; this is where technology concepts takes over civil liberties and they are being compromised all the time, thanks to the ludicrous politically correct state the authorities embedded our values in.
To put it all into perspective, it will take the whole of the NHS to be digitalized about another ten years for it to happen. The same for the Police, they still openly flaunt paperwork and still have masses of forms to fill per incident. I believe it is 15 forms per incident. Hardly green is it. At no point is Whitehall in a position to lecture the UK public over green issues when it comes to waste disposal mechanisms; especially as no further acknowledgements of introducing green taxes to huge corporations are being implemented. Carbon Taxes were levied to help produce regenerated renewable energies; this has not happened and now the general public will have to foot the inflated bill, the same who've bailed out the financial sector and paid MP's their falsified expenses and crazed Climate Change Act 2008, that will cost in excess of over 480 Billion to develop to it's fruition. The fact that the global warming tilt will have been passed by the year 2025 the plan is pure extortionate rhetoric. Land masses would have been replaced by oceans rising over 5 metres higher than today's shore-lines.
Waste disposal depots are being deployed around the UK at further huge costs of near 6 Million per annum. The plants are notoriously impressive and part of the unit is used for regenerating compost from waste. It is unquestionable state of the art technology that is already been in use for many years in Sweden and the Nordic suburbs since the mid 1990's. - The UK has taken the step of selling their rubbish to places such as China to do as the wish, for they have the space and the HiTech Recycling centres; but alas are not buying as much this last year due to the global downturn. It is damaging and offsetting waste disposal targets for years to come the UK are a long way off hitting their 2014 target thanks to the EU Parliamentary terms.
Cutting back on refuge collections have also been implemented to just once every two weeks, in practice won't actually saved the planet, but will make a fine hygiene fiasco that was thankful the UK didn't have a decent prolonged Summer season that would of reek havoc across the shores. Merlin-esque rats will wake the tramps that stalk the refuge for warmth instead of being crushed by offloading the refuge into trucks; yes, accidents have soured and a few people in the depot have lost their lives by falling into the huge pits of re-arranging rubbish to size and material. What I don't get is why do the public have to divide materials up, when the materials will be divided up anyway at the depot?
Our society balance is way off when it comes to CO2 emissions. It is not valid; no-one can effective use the electric car, because there are few charge-up points. All the packaging materials we use are mixed products components and therefore are not bio-gradable. The biggest entertainment provider Sky clearly state in their un-green set-top boxes do not switch off the device completely as it will take another 20 minutes for the items and programs to restore back to their original settings, prior to closing. - Sky must be laughing all the way to the bank; selling un-useable CO2 gobbling products to consumers without paying back a penny to the treasury in Carbon Green Taxes (CGT) - If, the government was really serious in saving the world from harmful greenhouse gases, surely they should of taken industries like Sony to the CGT cleaners. - Another laughable matter linked to our very own carbon footprint (CF) are the non capping of fuel bills across the spectrum, when the UK public knows that the wholesale price of fossil fuels is very low and the fuel giants are not passing them down to the consumer.
- The waste disposal mechanism along with the Climate Change Act 2008 is flawed beyond recognition. 'Global Warming' is a reality, but the amount of rhetoric surrounding the problem is another capitalism trick, the same fear factor was used during the Cold War in the 1980's. Money and world powers certainly sets the rules and boundaries when it comes to the Kyoto Agreement regarding to CO2 Trading Credits, allowing the prosperous nations to prosper again from having alliances with CO2 friendly nations.
To put the UK on the map our own national CO2 emission statistic last year was smaller than each of the biggest three China power firms. - China as the emerging super-power nation has to manage the Climate Change Act directly for any change to come apparent, China has to be the epicenter for regenerated new greenhouse gas fuels; everything the UK does will be dwarfed what China does, so as per usual our UK public is the fall-guy to an administration keyed up on profit, instead of the main causes.
Thank you for reading 'Euro - Trash'.
© copyright -10- 2009 - 1st2thebar
Local council by-laws, coming into being in 2010, will see people who fail to obey public refuse laws paying more fines than ever- more than a shoplifter will in court. If you leave your lid up by six or more inches through over-filling in Northamptonshire you first get a warning then a fine of £100. If builders leave waste outside of your house its £1000, even if they aren't working in your house!
In Southend a chap who runs a cycling shop has been fined nearly £200 notes, get this, for NOT putting his rubbish out! The guy is furious and claims the fine has been levied because he won't sign up to a contract with the private waste company that the council employ in the town. They charge £80 to local businesses to supply and collect 50 commercial rubbish bags in a set period, charging more if you need more bags. The guy claims he recycles all his rubbish himself and he doesn't need any help, why he doesn't need the bags, surely a model eco retailer. The council fined him £180 with it rising to £300 for non payment in a set period, clearly insinuating the guy is fly tipping to avoid the £80, even though the guy proved his thriftiness with his rubbish to a visiting council officer.
What I suspect is happening here is the cost of recycling is getting too expensive and even though 90% of the residents and businesses adhere to the rules of filling the various trays and wheelie bins the loss has to be recovered through that law abiding 90%, the 10% always the ones that offend but never pay fines, costing five times the fine to chase them up so not worth it.
In Northampton I'm fully expecting the council to introduce a general bin tax where you pay per amount you tip because of this big financial loss on waste services one day soon. The bin men are certainly under similar health & safety attacks, silly new rules on how to move waste getting ridiculous. One new bin man (not from Northamptonshire) refused to empty a bin that 'had maggots in it, quoting a rule that they didn't have to empty bins with 'live animals' in it, the maggots only in there because its summer and the householders rubbish gets collected every two weeks instead of one now, an irritating contradiction on what hygiene bin collections are supposed to be about. These binmen who report you for bin abuse are the same cowboys who make one hell of a mess on collection day as paper and plastic bottles fly off the blue and green trays and litter the street as the cart grinds through, flinging the empty trays over their shoulders so you have to slalom past them on the pavement and cars swerve past them in the middle of the road. I don't see anyone fining the binmen for being the biggest litters by far.
In Northamptontonshire the state of the art waste recycling centres, spread around the county, cost a bomb to build and £5 million pounds a year to run. In the 'credit crunch' year of 2008 when recycled materials values collapsed if had its biggest recorded loss, some £2.4 million. No one was buying tin and glass and so there was no money in muck and brass. Basically recycling makes a big loss here and we are tied into reducing landfill under a European parliament ruling that has been set too high, councils having to recycle 40% of everything by 2014. The residents are on board and dutifully sorting the bottles and cans into the various trays; putting their garden waste in the big brown wheelie bin and everything else in the standard black wheelie. But still we lose money. Lots of money.
The first big waste to the environment from the scheme is we have three different trucks for the three different collections running three times the amount of fuel and emissions, probably because the trucks are sponsored by three different corporations looking for some 'green washing', boosting their green credentials for good PR on the trucks yet carrying on polluting the world. We do have twice weekly collections but it's still double the amount of trucks and trips out there. Just one of these trucks picking up bins on a main road can cause serious congestion, the cars and trucks backed up then pumping out more fumes as they growl away in first gear as the mechanism crunches the garbage and generates more council debt every bite. Blocks and blocks of recycled and unreclyed waste are building up in warehouses as the credit crunch really bites those bit chunks out of local councils budgets. It became pretty clear Northampton was never going to meet those landfill targets so we started incinerating as much as we could, only bottles and cans surviving. As far as I know there's no money in recycling plastic as you can't burn it off very well and so this is now what is being stored in those warehouses. Other councils who are restricted on incineration are shipping their junk out to China and India on huge ships so it can be sorted, dumped and burnt there, bypassing E.U laws but just pushing pollution elsewhere to mess up the planet. Is this really a system worth investing in?
I agree with the collections and enough people are dutifully sorting so well worth staying with it, but what would be cool on top of that is a user friendly scrap yard, so to speak, where householders and businesses could take their tins and bottles and get paid cash for them, like as kids did when we took our lemonade bottles back to the newsagents. The biggest incentive to recycle is profit and saving money and I do fear if and when bin taxes come in they won't be about householders being able to save money off their council tax by recycling methodically but increasing council tax money by imposing unfair limits on families. The system we have is not profitable and never will be and so that means that money will always have to come from the tax payer - at every stage up the chain.
It was the same thing when the EU introduced 'Carbon Trading' through the Kyoto Agreement, the biggest polluting companies having to buy carbon credits in the hope they would reduce pollution. But too many carbon credits were issued and the big companies got theirs free, meaning in some cases the big polluters were actually making money from the credits. It was an eco disaster and an example why green will only be embraced fully if the big players and governments can make big bucks, the market likely to be worth $60 million dollars a year by 2014. The British government is forever hyping up global warming claims to cash in on that tax, green hype, and that fear the only way they can wean us off oil that is running out fast. Once this recession is over oil will be running out by 2020-burning more than we produce-on current known reserves, but green taxes and not moves to cut energy use the only plan they have...
over the next 6 years local governments must now double their recycling targets by 2015, this is going to be a mammouth task.
This now the time to really get the supermarkets and the manufacturers to be accountable for all the over packaged products they produce.
My business is recycling, and i have seen at first hand how the councils and recycling companies are in an never ending cycle,.
With the recession and the downward buying trend, the demand for the recycable waste we produce is at an all time low.
I feel there are loads of so called 'eco' products on the market, that infact add to the problem of the waste we have.
We have been a throw away society for quite a long time, and everything has been based on convienence and current trends, that the media have promoted to us, as the 'must have' item to have etc.
I know this sounds harsh, but maybe with the recession hitting us hard in the pockets, and we are all cutting back on spending, that we will get out of the spending habbit on things that we dont really need, start cooking from scratch, so then we dont buy over-packaged ready meals etc, and also look after and appreciate the things we do have.
Growing some of our own fruit and veg, would save on packaging, reading magazines and newspapers on-line would save unpteen tons of paper
The topic of recycling and waste will never go away, and we will allways needs to do more. If we could all try and use things to the max, and make do and mend, and try and re-vamp old items of furniture etc, to make them trendy, i do, and 'shabby chic' is all the fashion at moment.
We need to set an example for the next generation, so maybe this is a good time to take recycling to the next level.
Waste disposal is a topic that has gained a lot of media attention recently due to environmental issues such as global warming and the looming threat of running out of oil and other natural resources in the foreseeable future. It has therefore been the government and local councils' responsibility to take action to secure a decent future for the world, out country and the most important (in my opinion) future generations.
The council has introduced many different schemes in order to deal with the amount of products that they waste via landfill. This has had many implications on the way in which the public deal with their waste and the products that they are encouraged to buy. I personally believe that these are poor attempts by the council and the government as a whole.
Firstly, no matter how effective the recycling service is it is all in vain if consumers are constantly being bombarded with unnecessary, costly and occasionally ineffective packaging. For example to buy a few apples or bananas we are forced to also purchase packaging, polystyrene bags as well as foam holders for fruits such as apples. What I find ironic is that fruit has evolved over millions of years to be as effective as possible to stay as relatively safe and clean as it can whilst it isn't being eaten. Why we feel the need to package certain goods is actually beyond me, and more than anything it is probably just to increase the price you can afford to charge for goods as well as make it easier to store for the supermarkets. Go into your local farmers market and you will find fruit and vegetables stored openly (with no need of being refrigerated I may add), chances are this tastes better anyway because of its freshness. Anyway, the point is that the consumer shouldn't be forced to purchase literally tonnes of packaging a year only then to be blamed for the amount that we throw away!
The waste disposal facilities over the years have gradually grown better, and I'll admit that the bins that I have been allocated for general waste, garden waste and recycling goods impress me. One flaw in this system for me is that it is far too much work for the homeowner, having to sort out the different materials into separate bags for them to be recycled. All of this effort is then for nothing, at least from my personal perspective as the only thing that I gain from it is a slightly lighter load on my shoulders when it comes to doing my bit for the environment. There is no scheme to reward or punish those who do varying amounts of recycling. It is therefore no surprise that there is still large percentage of people who do no recycling whatsoever. It should therefore be made either necessary for households to recycle a set amount of waste, a rewards system should be set up for people who recycle a percentage of their waste or finally it should just be made easier for us to recycle our waste.
There are some positives when it comes to this financial aspect of recycling however. Despite the UK being miles behind its European neighbours on the recycling "scene" there have been strict regulations imposed on companies to do their fair share for the environment. This is where environmental issues really matter for me, as no matter how many tin cans I recycle there isn't any point is giants such as Tesco and McDonalds are throwing away thousands of tonnes of waste away every year. It has therefore been made companies' financial prerogative to recycle as they will be fined if they do not recycle a set percentage of waste, which is usually evaluated by the council. This gives the businesses a definite reason to recycle beyond just giving them something to brag about in adverts.
Overall I think that the government is trying to do something about waste disposal but they simply aren't trying hard enough. It should be made easier for average citizens to recycle and we should stop being blamed for environmental issues that are so much bigger than just the public putting plastic in the bin.
I find the actual matter of disposing of waste a complete mish-mash in my area. Whilst I can put out plastics and paper for recycling, glass has to be taken a fair (in reality driving) distance and I have to purchase bags if I wish vegetation to be recycled. Landfill is a huge problem in this country and so I do feel we should all be doing our best to reduce, in reality it is very very hard to do so.
I collect plastics etc with no real idea if they actually will be recycled or whether they will languish unbought somewhere as the global price has diminished.
Here is what I would like to see happen to improve the situation in my area and nationwide:
1) Bring back reusable glass bottles with a deposit - it works for coca cola etc in Norway (you take your bottle back to supermarkets and get a coin payout from a machine) so why not here?
2) Manufacturers/supermarkets - stop over packaging everything! There is some move to this but too often products are more packaging than product - toys especially, it is wrong.
3) Reduce use of cards - they are a waste, I want to not send Christmas cards, often they are to people I see every day so pointless, but at present it isn't very socially acceptable if it were more so it would be a good thing. Easter eggs are a huge packaging nightmare to - so cut straight to the chocolate!
Party bags - ban 'em they go straight in the bin! I am no scrooge so replace them with a nice (recyclable) book or anything that isn't a bouncy ball, my children must have had about a hundred of these, all landfill.
4) Freecycle - everyone should do it!
5) Government think it through.... I am worried that low voltage bulbs are being introduced without any thought really of where they will be disposed - I know they are full of mercury but I don't know where on earth I am supposed to take them - it worries me.
7) food - plan better - most people throw away 1/3 of the food they buy, this has to improve and is my individual responsibilty, everyone should make sure they don't waste needlessly.
There are plenty more things that could happen but these are the ones that would make a change to me straight away. I think the town in Japan where there is no waste collection at all is an interesting concept, meanwhile I find the amount I throw away is quite scary - I am determined to improve this and believe everyone should think about what they throw away.
Some of the issues are our individual responsibility but overall in this country I believe there needs to be much more clarity from government and manufacturers as to what we propose to do with all our waste. If nothing improves this country will become one big landfill site. We have to improve.
The buzz word at the moment which appears in every newspaper and in every shop you go to is environment. Suddenly after hundreds of years of neglect the people of Great Britain have decided to do something to protect the earth for future generations rather than keep on destroying it. Is it me or does everybodies efforts seem to be falling a little bit short of the mark? The two main issues everybody seems to be bothered with are plastic bags and recycling household waste.
THE GREAT PLASTIC CARRIER BAG DEBATE!
Every shop you go into these days is offering you a reusable bag for your shoppping either still made of plastic (defeats the object slightly?) or a reusable material one for £2 to £5 on average. These material bags are wonderful ideas if people reuse them!! People I see when shopping and even members of my own family buy these bags to use once or twice then never take them out shopping again. On the other hand there are the people who completely defeat the object by filling these bags with their shopping from other places which has been put in carrier bags.
Why dont we take a leaf out of Irelands book and charge 5p for plastic bags or bag them in paper bags for free?
Please think twice before acepting a carrier bag next time you are out shopping, and think about the piles of empty ones that you have in the cupboard at home!
Twice monthly collection of regular household waste has been a massive talking point all around the country recently most people disagreeing with it. In my opinon if recycling services were more up to scratch then they are at the minute this would not be a problem.
For example we have twice montly bins, weekly recycling of glass, plastic, card, paper, tins and cans and twice monthly collections of garden waste. We have full size black bins for general waste and tubs about a quarter of their size for the recycling. If the space allocated to us was more adequate we could cut our general waste in half and recycle twice as much.
I know recycling varies dramatically from place to place some worse some a lot better than what we have. The Government shouldnt leave the recycling to the local councils, every house in Britain should be under the same rules and have adequate facilities for disposing of their waste.
Some countries in Europe are charged per bag of waste they get rid of every month if this was the case in Britain I am sure people would make a lot more effort to cut down on their rubbish.
Waste disposal in this country is a load of rubbish!!
I feel like a good rant against free plastic shopping bags!
When they were first supplied in shops and given away free, they changed the sensible way in which shoppers had been operating for decades. Fifty years ago, if you wanted to go shopping fo groceries, you brought with you a couple of purpose-made shopping bags, made from materials that would last for hundreds of trips. You generally knew roughly how much stuff you were going to get, and took enough bags with you.
Now I know that sometimes you go shopping and buy something you hadn't planned to get when you went out. That's part of the fun of going out! But it's not hard to have an extra bag or two with you. We always now keep four or five bags in the boot of the car. They can all pack inside each other, and way almost nothing, so it's not a big deal to carry them.
People who always take free plastic bags and then chuck them away are highly irresponsible. Many plastic bags are non-biodegradable - we simply do not know how long they will remain in the soil when they go into landfill. Some better bags decompose within three or four years.
It's obviously urgent that action is taken. It's not very significant that some people try to reuse bags, but it's at least a start. What is needed is a change across the board from all retailers.
Now, we do need bags sometimes for shopping. Most things are packaged like a raincoat in Fort Knox, though, and so if you have no bag and can carry the stuff to your car or bicycle or taxi without a bag and without dropping it, then why have a bag?
To encourage us to come prepared, then a significant charge should be made for plastic bags issued in shops. Tesco make a tiny nod in this direction by giving you a Clubcard point for every bag you bring into the shop and use. I think a charge of 25p for every bag issued would soon sort things out. Another good scheme is done by both Tesco and Waitrose, who sell you a "Bag for Life" for 10p. If it breaks, they replace it. Asda now sell hessian shopping bags, but unless these shops charge big-time for plastic bags, WITH THE MONEY BEING CHANNELED INTO SUPPORTING RECYCLING, then these will only have a small impact. Furthermore, every bag issued should be biodegradable.
Changing the world is never easy, but let's get on with it! First off, we should all try to be organised and carry a few bags around whenever it is likely that we will go shopping, also keeping some spares in the car, or in handbags, etc. Secondly, watch the shop assistant, and stop them from putting your purchase into a bat if you don't need one. They have been trained by their managers to bag all purchases because of the advertising, so they reach for a bag on autopilot. Stop them - take the purchases - AND A RECEIPT! - say thank you, I don't need a bag, and leave them to think.
Some shops start to get this right by asking whether you would like a bag. The best answer is, "No, thank you, I don't need one!"
WASTE DISPOSAL (both domestic and industrial wastes) is a primary issue of our time due to its significant contribution to global warming. Due to improper collection, treatment and disposal of this waste, it brought a lot of environmental and health implications which affected the lives of thousands of people and cost billions of money in legal remediation costs around the world. But over the years, there is a dramatic change in waste management from the end-of-pipe approach to a comprehensive system, the cradle-to-grave approach.
Two years ago, I did a research on how to identify land as potential site for the final resting place of our wastes which we commonly known as landfill or land surface disposal area. Upon completion of my research, I found out that there are three major groups of people that influence in the development of a disposal site or landfill. These groups have power in providing directions towards successful management of our wastes, consequently in addressing global warming.
For the suceeding paragraphs I will try to illustrate these existing attitudes or norms among these groups, namely: the public (you and I), the industries/businesses (companies that provide our basic needs), and the elected political leaders (the politicians who decide how much we pay for our taxes) and find out their true colours in managing our wastes.
What is really our true attitude in dealing with our wastes? Majority of us blame our government for not addressing the issue and finding a cost-effective solution. In other words, we always defend ourselves by saying that we pay our taxes and it is the responsibility of the government to deliver the services in protecting our health and the environment we live in. But most of us are blind or unaware that we are the main contributory factor to the problem, by not only segregating our wastes or do recycling but not allowing the government to set a facility near our community. This is a perennial attitude among us as waste generators, due to the fact that having such facility (landfill) besides our homes may cause environmental, safety and environmental risks.
What is this attitude called? It is commonly known as NOT IN MY BACKYARD or NIMBY syndrome. Several documented reports worldwide that the residents are difficult to please and are the one opposing the project for having a treatment and disposal facility in the area. It is important that we, as one of the major producers of wastes will be aware and will actively involve ourselves in the managing the wastes in our localities (councils) to minimise this NIMBY attitude. To get away from this social disease, we should cooperate by trusting our legislators, experts and local governments to plan and implement effective waste management projects, and also be pro-active on those projects through volunteerism and set as an example in the community.
This segment of the society has always been tagged as the polluters or the culprits of our waste problems. Based from previous studies, land contamination and other environmental damages are due to the poor management of the industries, particularly the illegal dumping of hazardous, toxic and harmful untreated wastes in environmentally-sensitive areas.
This attitude among the business/industry sector is WE-HIDE-IT-FREELY-FOR-YEARS or WHIFFY Attitude. If you check the term, whiffy in the dictionary, it means unpleasant or foul smell which is appropriate to describe the outcome of this attitude among the industries concern. To some extent, these illegal dumping leads to the massive increase of contaminated sites which always becomes a media headline. Allowing this attitude to prevail, industries are able to evade from environmental costs handling, storage, treatment, disposal/discharge or even generation charges.
This attitude of the generators is almost tolerated and being taken for granted by the populace because it requires a thorough site investigation and the necessary funds from both the government and the industry concerned to establish any claims, and that the occupying industry is fully responsible for any consequences which clean-up and rehabilitation necessitates. In some extent, this whiffy attitude is being tolerated by the residents and the government due to the lengthy legal process or litigation to prove the misconduct of a particular firm. However, it is fully encouraged for people to be vigilant and be brave enough to report such illegal practices.
**THE POLITICAL LEADERS/POLITICAN
I think everyone is aware that our government plays a central important role in the protection of the environment and our health and safety. This is the reason why we have numerous legislations, policies and guidelines to safeguard our health and the environment which is a challenging to do from the government. That is also the reason why, we and the industries have to support our political leaders through fair and democratic way in passing various environmental policies. Proper waste disposal necessitates infrastructure (like landfill) and other support facilities (incinerators). Having this infrastructure requires endorsement from the community which needs political will. In some extreme scenario, our political leaders are facing a hard time to get an affirmative response from the community due to various reasons, including the opposition reaction from the local and international voluntary environmental groups. There is a dilemma among politicians to be identified with a controversial waste management project that could effect their long term political career or candidacy for higher positions in the next electoral.
Facing this pressure, politicians tend to adopt the so called NOT IN MY TERM OF OFFICE or NIMTOO attitude not to jeopardize their political image. In other words, NIMTOO attitude is a manifestation among politicians of their high regard of not compromising their political careers. It is suicidal for any political leader to engage in a strong endorsement of environmentally-sensitive projects. Endorsement and approval of any project within the tenure of their office is critical, to some extent, it is as used as a political battle ground among opposing political groups to gain popularity from the public.
From the publics point of view, endorsement of a project from any political leader indicates a hidden agenda, wherein politicians are represented or motivated by groups of individuals and big businesses vested interests. Because of this it is very hard for other politicians with good political platforms to convince their constituents to take risks of having the project near their backyards.
In summary, the success in combating waste disposal problem is through proper participatory approach allowing the community (people), industries, and the government to come together, making the decision making process effective and brings positive results in solving the problem. Recognising the involvement of the community and interested groups is an effective way to increase public awareness and acceptance for any land disposal project. Consequently, public and private/business participation serves a conduit in establishing trust and assurance for such environmentally-sensitive undertaking such as a landfill or surface disposal site.
Minimising or eliminating these three attitudes: NIMBY (not in my backyard), NIMTOO (not in my term of office) and WHIFFY (we hide it freely for years) will dramatically improve the way we manage our wastes which brings positive impact to global warming. Proper disposal of wastes needs utmost attention rather than focusing to a bigger picture the global warming.
***NOTE: This review is motivated by my previous research at the University of Queensland (Australia) as part of my MPhil Degree in Enviromental Engineering.
RECYCLING - We need a standard approach.
To make recycling work we need it to be standardised from the top down. Perhaps even starting at UN level. At present, at local level. city councils are allowed to determine what recycling systems they use. This is no good at all. The reason being, in one council area newspapers are collected in bundles and in other areas they can be put in a green plastic sacks along with tins and glass and plastic yoghurt pots. Some councils require householders to separate tin and glass, others do not. Some take garden waste, others do not. IF WE HAD STANDARD DISPOSAL, WE COULD THEN PUT REAL PRESSURE ON THE MANUFACTURERS TO USE LESS PACKAGING.
For example, Kelloggs Cornflakes need not be sold in a BOX...Why do they need to be in a box AS WELL as a bag?.......The problem is, if they forget about the box and just sell them in a bag, SOME COUNCILS WOULD REFUSE TO DISPOSE OF THE BAG.
Here in Cardiff, even if you use a biodegradable carrier bag, you can not recycle it because the Council doesn't recycle plastic bags... thats crazy!! So why should manufacturers change the packaging when in some cases such a change would have no positive effect? (Because councils are allowed to decide on their own disposal techniques)
We must have standardisation of disposal, not the present poorly thought-out free for all.
If I buy jaffa cakes, the box gets recycled, but the internal sellophane bag ends up in landfill because my council considers it ''non-recyclable''.
If I buy a polystyrene tray of curry and chips, I can recycle the tray but not the environmentally-friendly bag I broght it home in.
We have green plastic rubbish sacks for recycling: Yoghurt pots, margarine pots, take away curry containers,foil pie dishes,pet food cans, grocery cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jam jars and newspapers. BUT THIS WEEK A MAN IN A DIFFERENT COUNCIL AREA WAS FINED £75 FOR SOMETHING WHICH WOULD BE PERFECTLY OK IN CARDIFF.
This is why we need standardisation imposed from above.
We have a green wheelie bin for garden waste which is collected every 2 weeks. OTHER COUNCILS DO NOT COLLECT GARDEN WASTE.
This is why we need standardisation.
We have black bags for the items our PARTICULAR Council sees as ''non-recyclable'', which another Council may recycle quite happily.
This is why we need standardisation.
If I put ''too many'' black bags out they will leave one there, even though next door may not have put out any at all. They would rather leave them behind than use common sense.
This is why we need standardisation.
They fine people for infringing the rules when the Council themselves do not recycle their OWN rubbish.
SO what we need is a totally fresh think. A new ''WASTE DISPOSAL ACT'' so that all Councils know what the standards are.
OR some kind of new, standard, EU directive.
OR some kind of direct intervention by the UN to ensure its a GLOBAL effort towards a GLOBAL goal.
The present system is an unfair shambles.
LESS PACKAGING PLEASE
I think it is high time manufacturers were made to use less packaging in their products. The supermarkets could follow suit, they already sell organic products, how about stocking "less packaged" products as well?
With all the packaging around the things we buy, no wonder we are creating so much rubbish which should be recycled, but often isn't.
What happened to the good old fashioned paper bag? At one time everything we bought was put into a paper bag. Cakes in a white paper bag and loaves of bread were wrapped in tissue paper, whilst potatoes and other vegetables or heavier goods, were put into a stronger brown paper bag.
The whole lot was then put inside our own shopping bags, which were used whenever we went shopping. Inside the shopper there would also be a string bag or a carrier made from strong brown paper with string handles. These carriers were not very good in the rain though, I have to admit.
KNIT A PLASTIC BAG!
With all the mountains of plastic carrier bags that we accumulate from any one shopping trip, I would like to thing these could be recycled into a long lasting shopping bag. I know a lady who cuts the carriers into strips and then knits mats from them. Maybe the strips could be knitted into a shopping bag, like the old fashioned string ones? Now there is something to try!
Recycling was not heard of at one time. Garden waste was burnt on a bonfire, or used as compost, household waste was thrown into the open fire burning in the grate. But we all know now that bonfires and coal fires are bad for the environment too.
My local council has recently implemented a system whereby garden waste cannot be put into our black bins, but has to be either taken to the tip or, they will collect. This weekend I noticed one of my neighbours had two black binliners full of garden rubbish. Instead of taking it to the tip or composting it, he rang the council who sent the recycling wagon along on Saturday morning. Now isnt this bad for the environment, sending out a huge lorry to collect two bags of rubbish? And how much would the men be paid, it being a Saturday?
I know in schools we encourage children to take part in recycling projects, making them aware of the importance of it, but somehow I think we are educating the wrong people. Most of today's children know the importance of recycling. Perhaps it is the adults amongst us who should be re-educated. I pride myself that I recycle most things, but I still feel annoyed at the manufacturers who insist on supplying my purchases in loads of unnecessary packaging. Perhaps we should start with educating them and then the rest of us will have less recycling to do.
In 2004-2005, 29.7 million tonnes of rubbish was produced by residents of England. Thats a lot of baked bean cans and loo roll tubes! Almost ¾s of this huuuuuge amount was disposed of in Landfill. Landfill is literally just that great big holes in the ground where the council puts all our household waste.
So what does 29.7 million tonnes look like? Well One tonne is equal to nearly sixty thousand Christmas cards. Ill let you do the maths on that, but you know what? Thats an awful big lot of Christmas cards.
There are lots of ways to reduce this horrible but desperately true statistic, and its easier than most people think. In my area we have recycling bins on the high street, and a 2-weekly doorstep collection of things like glass, plastic bottles, tins, paper, batteries and old textiles. Buying fruit and veg which isnt heavily packaged, re-using envelopes and carrier bags, changing your light bulbs for low energy ones which last longer. These are just a few of the ways we can help to reduce the amount of our waste that goes to landfill.
Another good way to reduce the amount of household waste and therefore minimise your carbon footprint is to compost your kitchen and household waste. In this review I am going to share some of my composting secrets and hopefully inspire you to GO GREEN and find a place in your heart (and garden) for some soil-loving!
What is compost?
Well compost is basically plant material that over a period of time has decomposed and been reduced to a soft, crumbly soil like consistency. Sounds delicious, yes? It is like black gold to the gardener, will improve garden beds and borders so end, and is loved by fruit trees and vegetables alike! In short, it will not only reduce the amount of household waste you send to Landfill, but will make your garden grow!!
There are a few dos and donts with composting, which Ill go through here, but generally its pretty simple, will help your plants grow beautifully, and, if used as a mulch (a layer on top of the soil, around plants), will help your borders retain moisture, meaning you dont have to water them as often. Which is the perfect solution if youre currently experiencing a hosepipe ban!
How to get started.
So how does one go about making glorious compost? Pretty easy really. You need a large open-bottomed container doesnt really matter whether its made of wood or plastic, and there are loads of compost bins to choose from at any DIY store or Garden Centre but get 2 it you have the space so that when one is full, you can start another.
What to use:
-Fruit and veg scraps, peelings and rotten or squishy fruit and veg that youve forgotten about. The mouldier the better!
-Tea bags and coffee grounds
-Garden prunings, dead-heads, though if you use twigs and branches, cut them up small! A shredder is a good investment if you have lots of this type of garden waste.
-NETTLES these are brilliant: they are an activator for your compost, meaning that they heat up quickly and help your compost to break down and decompose faster. I have nettle patches which I grow just for this purpose. Just remember to use glows when you cut them down !
-Cardboard (like loo-roll-innards)
-Grass mowings mix them up with other material, like paper, as a big thick layer of grass clippings will take eons to break down.
-Shredded paper. Buy a shredder, they are ingenious creations and not all that expensive. And then proceed to shred old bank statements, bills, anything which is sensitive that you dont need anymore and COMPOST!!! Once the paper breaks down, aint no-one stealing your identity!!! I think its the perfect solution to the ever increasing crime of identity theft! And its GREEN! Hurray!
-Hedge clippings. Some books say dont put hedge clippings in your compost mix, but I have never had any problems, and to be honest, anything at all that is planty is going to break down eventually, and if your compost is a good hot one, then sooner rather than later.
THINGS NOT TO PUT IN YOUR COMPOST!!!!
Whatever you do, dont put any meat or fish bits in, or bread, as all these things will attract vermin, which you dont want to do really! Cheese is another no-no, as is the remainder of anything pre-packaged/cooked. I try to keep anything that has additives, chemicals, that sort of thing, well away from my compost as I grow fruit and veg, and dont want chemicals being drawn up into things Im going to eat.
The Perfect Compost Recipe
The only thing to remember with compost is the green to brown ratio. This sounds really complicated but its really not. Think about the things you are putting in is it soft, like fruit, veg, grass mowings, hedge clippings? Or is it brown, like coffee grounds, tea bags, cardboard, tree prunings? The green stuff reacts with the brown stuff and creates warmth, which speeds up the decomposition process.
As long as there is air vents in your compost container, you add a bucket of water occasionally, and you have a half and half mix of green and brown, youre pretty much cooking on gas. Mix your compost from time to time if you want it to cook faster, so that there are not thick layers of any one kind of material.
-Grow Nettles to boost your wildlife population (butterflies in particular)
-Have 2 bins, so one can cook while you fill the second up. By the time the second is full, the first should be about ready to use on your garden!
-add a bucket of water in dry spells to keep the compost moist. You dont want it to dry out.
-Keep mixing it up! If you have the space, do what I do, which is to empty the whole lot out, and fork it back in again twice a year, using the compost that is ready from the bottom on the garden, and putting the rest back in the composter to finish off. The motion of forking it back in adds air to the mix, which is essential for the decomposition process.
So there you go, all you need to know about compost making! There are lots of sites online which tell you all about composting if you want to know more I like the BBC website, it has loads of info about all aspects of gardening.
I really love the idea that by composting my household veg scraps etc. I am making a dent in the problem of landfill, and I hope that if more and more people start to compost their household waste, together we could change the world!!! Lets have a compost revolution!!!
Thank you so much for reading, if this has interested you, I have written other articles on Dooyoo about similar topics, go check them out.
Many thanks, Kate.
We now live, at least here in the western world, in a throw away society composed of plastic containers and packaging.
The importance of recycling has to be recognised as a thing that everybody should do. Especially in this country (England) where our landfill are rapidly approaching full capacity, coupled to this is the fact that waste generation is increasing year on year.
An alternative to landfill sites is to burn rubbish - however here comes carbon emissions and the amount of crap that would come from burning all the plastic packaging we have today.
an estimated 40% of waste is organic - this is a symptom of the cause that causes thing like obesity - we're to damn greedy. Personally me being a student i dont throw anything out unless i absolutly need to, it makes me go spare when i come home and see my parents throw out 1 day old cheese just because its out of date.
There are recycling centres of course, depending on local authorities (often useless). these include glass and paper recycling - however as with other things there is not a 100% guarentee that it doesnt end up in a landfill site.
i think the most important thing is to educate people all over the social spectrum - those at the top are just as wastefull as those at the bottom
Those of you who have read my reviews before will know that I'm all about looking after the environment and recycling is one of those issues which I feel is badly misunderstood so hopefully this will be of use to those of you who may be unclear about it.
Our planet has a limited amount of resources and a limited capacity to absorb our waste without suffering, for us to live sustainably we must use our resources effectively and work within the limits the planet can allow for. Recycling is seen by many people to be the answer to our resource shortages however I will argue that it is not.
Recycling requires a lot of energy it requires more energy to recycle glass than to make some new and there is usually a lot of transport involved too. However I'm not saying we shouldnt recycle its just- PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.
Glass bottles used to have a deposit on them, refundable on return and milkmen used to deliver the milk each morning and then collect the empties with their next round then just wash the bottles and reuse them, what a great system- so efficient! However I notice now that everyone chooses to buy the milk in a plastic bottle, why? Well Im not to sure but it doesnt make too much sense to me.
Fruit and veg is the same, Bananas come ready wrapped for us by nature, and its called a banana skin. So why is it that we insist on rewrapping them in plastic? Then to add insult to injury, we put them in yet another plastic bag to carry them home. Does this seem sensible to you?
So what happens to our waste? Well most of this countries waste is dumped into landfill sites; these are more complex than just a hole in the ground and have to be located very carefully. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your stance, we are running out of geologically suitable landfill sites and must find alternative ways to dispose of our waste. Incineration is a method chosen in most European countries, but in the UK public opinion is strongly against it, however it is this or nothing, as not all waste can be disposed of in the alternative bioreactors. Incineration is far cleaner than most people believe, and can be used to generate power as can bioreactors however if you are one of these people who would rather not have one near you- and I suspect there are a lot of you- then there is only one alternative.
Cut down on the amount of waste you produce. Firstly this can be achieved by buying more sensibly, buy the loose fruit and veg and carry it home in a reusable box rather than a load of plastic bags which you will throw away. Return any bags you dont use to the shop- most health food shops will appreciate this, however some shops will not:
I was the other day in WHSmiths and they had run out of bags, luckily I had a load as I was on my way to drop them off, I offered to give them to the shop but they said they couldnt use them as they didnt say WHS! This seemed to annoy all the customers who were without bags and frankly it was a bit stupid- advertising before both customer care and the environment. I gave the customers the bags myself, but this is the type of attitude we must change.
Buy fresh food whenever you can, it usually has less packaging (*and is better for you) but if you must buy tins etc, recycle them. Its easy, just use a box and put them in rather than in the bin. If you must buy bottled water, refill it, you can compare the values of your tap water online- you will be surprised it is almost always better than bottled due to higher restrictions. Be careful though many companies are wise to this and make it so that their bottles leak intentionally.
When Recycling it is always important to remember, do not make journeys specifically for that purpose, try and find a centre that is on one of your existing routes or is less of a detour as we want to save all the energy (and money) we can.
Get wise to the situation, councils and companies will deliberately try to mislead you. Many do not recycle or drive their waste for miles. Write letters to them, I know its using paper, but it will be worth it if enough people do it and they listen. Try to set up a scheme at work, many customers will choose you because of this.
Is it the councils responsibility? Yes and no. Its all of our responsibility, they should provide us with ample locations and collections to make it easier for us, and should educate our children- it annoys me when I see them not recycling, and if you work for the council, does your office/section? Many environmental agencies really do not care; the forestry commission near me leaves all of their lights and pcs on at night, is this good for the environment??? I doubt it; just like I doubt they recycle- shows how much they really care. Its the producers responsibility- why do they need so much packaging???- well because it makes the product look higher quality when its probably not. But most of all it is your responsibility to do your part and motivate others around you.