While I am delighted the government has been recommended to re-think its fortnightly bin collections, I just wonder why it has taken so long when Labour ignored previous warnings about the potential health risks this involved.
According to a government committee, plans to encourage householders to recycle more rubbish are too timid, too complicated and unlikely to work.
It concludes that more research should be done into the health impacts of fortnightly collections, incentives of Â£50 or more per year are needed to encourage people to recycle and that fortnightly collections are best-suited to rural and suburban areas.
As far as householders are concerned, they already pay taxes for this collection and do not feel it is fair to be charged more, to operate by a “carrots or sticks” system.
My suggestion would be make it easy for them to participate. I would suggest providing recycling facilities for glass, paper and cans in all public places, from parks and theatres to bus stops and football grounds. This could be made mandatory, it would divert all these recyclables from being dumped in the nearest bins and ending up at landfill.
I would like to see brief explanations given at these recycling points about what happens to the stuff they are dumping, to explain that it is a resource than can go on to be used again and again, and describe in what way. Just short, sharp points of facts to engage the public and arouse their interest, rather than being punitive.
I would like recycling to be more flexible and geared towards meeting the needs of householders, so that pensioners and single people will be given smaller recycling boxes than a family of six. I would like to see all housing estates have their own recycling centre, every neighbourhood and community too, as well as local collection points for unwanted furniture or other bulky items.
I would also like us to consider collecting our recyclables co-mingled, that is mixed together, to make it easier for householders. You can read my article here about how this method is successfully used in New York state which has a recycling rate of 32%. In London, figures published last year showed our capital city recycled 17.7% of its waste.
And during peak recycling times, like Christmas, let’s ensure there are extra glass collections for the empty bottles; from memory, its usage goes up tenfold this time of the year, there is nothing more annoying than seeing the bottles scattered around the ground because the container is overflowing.
And yes, of course householders will resort to fly-tipping if they are going to be charged extra for their waste collection. Let’s avoid that by engaging them more now, explaining and educating, and learning how to meet their needs too to show that the UK can recycle as well as other parts of Europe and the States.
Do you have any tips which would encourage more people to recycle?