Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Fifty percent extra, free

This is another post for my Sheffield reader.

I got a leaflet through the door yesterday:

Every household in Sheffield is getting a new bin. A third one. That's a fifty percent increase in binnage across the city. Tens if not hundreds of thousands more bins in Sheffield's front gardens, alleyways, passageways and gennels, and on the pavements.

The new bin is for recycling tins, glass and plastic, as this illustration helpfully shows:

Actually, I love the illustrations. If you look at it through a jeweller's eyeglass (and why wouldn't you?) the bottles and tins are all labelled - 'milk', 'wine', 'baked beans', 'pop' and the irresistible can of 'drink'.

This is not to get us to recycle more (in fact, it might even lead to recycling less). I can't see it saving money (those bins can't be cheap). But it will make things considerably easier for the waste contractors, Veolia.

Currently we can recycle all those things (indeed, Sheffield City Council seem far less fussy than Lewes District, who would leave your whole boxful behind if it had a yogurt pot - EVEN AN EXPLICITLY RECYCLABLE POLYPROPYLENE ONE - in it. Currently we have a blue bin and a blue box. Once a fortnight we put them both out, with bottles etc in one, and paper etc in the other. Which is which is up to the householder, depending on what they create more of. I actually don't use my box at all - I just alternate what I put out, as I don't even half fill a bin in a fortnight.

Now, the boxes are a bit of a pain, it's true. Stuff blows/falls out of them, or gets soaked. They have - or had - elasticated covers, but these are all falling apart now and blowing about like something you wouldn't want to get on your prop. In case you were wondering what to do with the soon to be redundant box, the council have thoughtfully stepped in with the answer:

Overall, then, greater recycling capacity, hooray. But as a Green friend pointed out, this could actually mean less recycling. Each recycling bin will now be emptied every 28 days (with refuse collection continuing fortnightly as now, inbetween) - that's four weeks between collections of paper, and four weeks between collections of bottles and cans. Say you threw out very little paper, but lots of bottles and cans, you might have had more than half a bin of bottles and cans every fortnight; maybe even a full one. And your box of paper would have been collected every fortnight as well. So when your brown bin is full in three weeks and there's a week to go before it's collected, where are the rest of the the bottles and cans going to go? Into the black dustbin, of course. Ditto with paper and card. Not that Veolia will mind - they've an incinerator to keep going after all.

Meanwhile I now have to find room for a third bin that I don't need and will never fill.

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