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Isn't cardboard, paper anyway?

This blog post was written like many of my others, after having a good old rant about something that really annoyed me. I'll include the original rant at the bottom. As a company we produce waste, fact! Not as much as most due to the nature of our business and the steps we've taken to reduce it but nether the less we do produce some waste.

Waste can be limited but its extremely hard to avoided, in my eyes the most important thing is to ensure its being dealt with correctly and as much as humanly possible is being recycled. We use a national company who ensures that our waste is dealt with correctly and as environmentally soundly as possible and we pay for this service. Our sorted and black bag waste is taken to a depot where they use a number of methods including hand picking to correctly separate it out and recycle or compost it, a very small percentage actually ends up in landfill as they even use some of it to create energy, and this company makes a profit from doing this.

Now I'm willing to pay for my commercial waste to be dealt with properly, and this company actually sees my rubbish as profit, so my question is why doesn't my council seem to?

Why are our councils all so confused about the best way to deal with our waste and why isn't there a standardised cost effective way to basically sell our rubbish for profit like these private waste companies do. We normally holiday in the UK and stay in holiday lets and cottages and the different ways in which we are asked to dispose of our rubbish and recycle never ceases to amaze me. Rules on separation and even what can and can't be recycled change from county to county not even country to country. We are selling our selves short if we think we've got a handle on recycling, most people believe that single use plastic, is exactly that but they're wrong. It may be more difficult to recycle so called single use plastics but nearly everything is recyclable in one form or another it's just weather we go the extra mile to actually do it. What and how we recycle is usually decided by our local councils and I feel that most are getting off lightly and passing the buck by claiming certain items are not recyclable when other more proactive councils in the same country are able to process those items. So unlike most of my blogs where I try to answer a question this one poses the questions what are we going to do about this? We cant keep using this earths resources just the once, why are we told things cant be recycled when they can? and who is ultimately responsible?

Here's my original rant, it was directed at my local council, regarding my personal household recycling.

Why did we as the taxpayer fork out for curbside sorting, recycling vehicles that apparently cant sort recycling at the curbside? We had a spring clean out this week and I put a lot of cardboard and paper in our recycling boxes the cardboard & glass bin became full so I put a small amount of cardboard in the paper bin (as we moved away from being able to place out unlimited numbers of bags for recycling to a very limiting box system). Not a problem I thought as we have these fantastic curb side sorting vehicles and all our recycling is collected at the same time. Unfortunately I was wrong, and was left with a full bin of paper with a little cardboard on top and a polite little notice saying "No Thanks" (actual wording) we don't want this as you've mixed the two. A couple of things confuse me about this, firstly in a borough so plagued by fly tipping and littering what does the council assume will then happen to this waste deemed, too mixed to be sorted at the curb side? I will re-sort and put it out again next week but I'm now a week behind and will have excess waste next week to somehow deal with. Its apparent that a lot of people will just black bag it, or fly tip it. Secondly, i understand rules are rules no matter how ridiculous, the operative was only doing his job, and like many people doesn't want to do more than what they are paid for, but when we already mix card with glass and then plastic with tin in the same collection is it really to much of a stretch for the operative to have separated clean/dry paper and cardboard. This leads to my next point. We are constantly being told by our council that we need to do more to cut down black bag waste and recycle as much as possible, this is long overdue and I'm really pleased we aren't sending as much to landfill anymore. BUT how is it possible to say this then leave a full box of recyclables on the curbside, surly it goes against everything we are trying to achieve. Year on year we are told that we are recycling more of the total waste collected by our council this may be true but its in no way a real reflection of what is happening in Blaenau Gwent as waste is being left all over our beautiful valley by the council who have been elected to take care of it, due to ever increasing rules on how much and the type of waste we can dispose of. Now I know our councils response if I was lucky enough to receive one, would revolved around budget, and I understand we are one of the poorest boroughs in the UK due partly to our low band housing stock. But when a refuse collector refuses to empty a bin from in front of him in to a truck parked a meter away from him because I placed some cardboard on top of some paper, something is really broken, and will take more than another costly revision of how we sort our recycling to repair.


Rant over, Thanks for Reading Joe Scott.

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