Thursday, May 17, 2007

A load of rubbish

Leeds introduced wheelie bins into Morley in the mid nineties. They were sold on the benefits of increased capacity and making it permissible to include garden waste. In return, we were expected to wheel them to the kerbside on collection day.

A couple of years later, green recycle bins were launched. The collection, however, was on alternate weeks, black then green. There was still quite a restriction on what was recyclable then (cans, foil, paper) and the end result was that everyone's black bin was overflowing by collection day and the green bin was half empty.

After a year or two, they had a rethink and changed the system. They went back to weekly black bin collection and a four week cycle for green. This worked out fine, but over time and with the expansion of allowable contents (cardboard, plastic types 1/2/4, carrier bags) we found that four weeks was now too long. Leeds were happy to let us have a second green bin and we now pretty much manage to fill both of them, bolstered by the vast quantity of junk mail we still get despite being on all of the preference services.

A couple of years back, Leeds decided to fit RFID tags to the bins, to help with future management decisions. I'm not aware that they have done anything useful with this, however, and seeing as how bins occasionally go missing and others get reclaimed, their database will not be particularly accurate. (There is a rogue green bin in our street that has traces of number 21 on it but has been disowned by that house).

It now appears that we will be moving to fortnightly green collection as well as offering glass and garden collections- this is to be welcomed as we can then get rid of our extra green bin. I don't think our black bin has enough capacity for two weeks of rubbish though, and I don't see us making any significant lifestyle changes that would make us turn into the Good Life or weave our own yoghourt.

I saw a feature on Craggers on the Beeb the other day and it strikes me that greenery is starting to show symptoms of mental illness, or at least some form of mass delusional hysteria.

The computer press describes green energy as pointless tokenism (there is so little of it in the UK) and there is even green gas now- the extra you supposedly pay goes on sustainable energy projects. (Sustainable bandwagon non-job projects, more like, or even scams!)

(Bin image lifted from-


Ellee said...

Not so long ago it was impossible to get national newspaper coverage on wastebins, now it is such a hot topic, and one we rely on to our neighbours in Europe for examples of best practice where many of them have collections several times a week, never mind once a fortnight. That is surely going back into the Dark Ages.

Delicolor said...

Ellee, it is a hot topic because councils are becoming tyrannical in their enforcement. Why? Because they will get fined if they don't reach landfill reduction targets- targets unquestioningly complied with as they have been imposed from the EU. Parts of Europe have a landfill crisis although we don't- the one size fits all approach yet again lets us down.

It will be much, much more painful if we are ever daft enough to join the EuroZone.

More regular collections are doable but unviable as they will be unaffordable. We already pay way too much locally for services we often don't need or are becoming increasingly untenable.