I’m back up on my soap-box everyone: it’s been a while since I had a rant, and today I’m going back over some well-trodden ground. But feck me, the recycling situation here is still shite, and moving at snail’s pace. I’m talking about schools, businesses, community events; places where you imagine a system would be in place, but sadly not. I’m constantly gritting my teeth when I see everything being heaved into the bin together, unseparated at source and sent merrily off; no f**ks given.
Sometimes people are just honest: I’m too busy; I’m running a business here, I don’t have time, it’s not my problem. I appreciate that businesses have had a horrendous time of late but that argument won’t wash because the same people were wheeling out this argument long before Covid arrived. Others argue that the waste will be separated anyway when it moves along to the processing plant; however if the contents are contaminated by food waste or liquids then it rendered unsuitable for the next stage, and off it goes to landfill. What a wasted opportunity.
Let’s talk schools. Most of the schools in which I’ve worked are kept scrupulously clean and tidy. As well as the pupils binning their waste, I see caretakers diligently emptying bins and going round the playgrounds with litter pickers. This is how it should be of course, who doesn’t want a fresh and clean environment for their children, especially now. But from a teaching point of view, you feel like a right muppet when you’re banging on about our responsibility to the planet and the kids are still traipsing down the canteen to buy their chips in Styrofoam boxes and eat them with plastic forks. Poor Greta Thunberg would be having the dry bokes.
Apparently, it’s the schools, NOT the Department of Education who have to pay for their own recycling. This seems entirely wrong to me: is there not enough pressure on schools that the Department should just step up and resolve this? Of course not: they’re presently far too busy, making a total shambles of the transfer test, which, even if the poor kids GET, they still aren’t even guaranteed a place, in any school, in the whole country. I digress. Not like you, SWB, I hear you say. But in short, it’s up to a few members of staff who can’t stomach the waste to go ferreting about in bins, lifting out plastic bottles and cans and saving reams of paper from being dumped. It’s not fair.
To end on a positive, and on the fact which got me started in the first place, the Co-op has launched a way to recycle your soft plastics,* i.e. stuff that can’t go in the blue bin, (bread bags, crisp packets, microwavable rice packets etc). You can gather up any of these-and deposit them special bins they have in store. I’ve already been down to the Co-op on Rosetta and the bin is easy to spot near the cash desk. Radio 2’s Sara Cox was on talking to Frank about it on U105 this morning, and so I rang in too, as this is right up my Strasse. ‘What’s your tuppence worth on this Helen?’ he asked, somewhat warily. He’s used to me now, is Frank. ‘Tuppence?’ says I. ‘You’ll get at least 50p’s worth out of me on this.’ And off I went.
As Sara Cox rightly said, we only have to look out our window and see the weird weather that’s afoot, and here to stay. Small steps by all of us is the way forward, but applying some pressure on councils and the Department of Education wouldn’t be amiss either.
* These are the plastics that you can scrunch up in your hand and if they ping back then they are suitable for this type of recycling.