Wednesday, 5 October 2011

It's Not All Rubbish

Tuesdays are bin days for us in Preston. Over the last few years I've lived in a few different areas with a few different recycling and rubbish systems. Some places had rubbish collections ever week, some rubbish every week and recycling fortnightly. In Preston we have rubbish one week and recycling the other.
The recycling is split into two big boxes under the stairs. The yellow lid box is for paper and cardboard while the red lid (which has been missing for some time...) box is for glass, tins, foil and plastic bottles. We also have a food waste collection every week which is great as it mean the actual rubbish is kept to a minimum. Having weekly food rubbish collections also mean that what little rubbish is in the bin doesn't smell at all.
I love watching how much we recycle, put into food waste and rubbish. It really makes you think when you can see how much food you throw out each week. I'm also addicted to seeing how small I can get our rubbish bag every fortnight and how much of our waste I can get into the recycling boxes. The next step will be to keep rubbish down but also reduce recycling and food waste. Recycling's great but it's better not to make the waste in the first place! My veg box is helping as we no longer have plastic packaging for that, just a big cardboard box which we give back each week to be reused.

Rubbish has been in the news as well as on my mind this week. On Monday the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that £250 million is going to be found to encourage councils to provide weekly rubbish collections. Environment groups and those against the austerity cuts have been horrified. It does seem a little surprising that when everything seems to be being cut there's money around for extra bin collections.
I know some people complain that in the summer after two weeks their rubbish smells or that in a large household bins fill up within a week. But if the recycling's separate and clean that won't smell, which with good recycling facilities should be most of the household waste. With regular food waste collections, and a desperately needed reduction in throwing good food away, rubbish won't be smelly and won't fill up as quickly.
I don't live in a big family house but in a student house of 6 the recycling boxes only got full after two weeks and we only filled the bin once a week. So that's 2 full bin bags a fortnight, easy to fit into the wheelie bin and that included all the food waste as we couldn't compost or recycle it.

The Independent talked about the governments proposed changes here, while The Guardian discusses it here and the BBC covers it here. There's a lot of comments from both sides of the debate so have a read for more info.

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