Saturday, 22 December 2007


A favourite occupation at the weekend is a visit to the local Civic Amenity, also know as a waste or rubbish site. Here we are all encouraged to separate our rubbish for recycling. I'm fully in favour of reducing the consumer societies impact on the world but, I have to say that I am far from convinced that that way we are tackling the waste problem is the correct way.
There are certainly some things that will be used and then are ideal for recycling. Newspapers are an example. Providing the energy used and the greenhouse gasses produced in recycling is less than that in producing the original then it must be worth it. What does worry me is when we are not just recycling but reprocessing materials that could be used again. When I was a lad, and the coal man came round in a horse drawn cart, the lemonade man came round in a van. We bought our bottles, the price including a deposit on the bottle, and then returned the empties, for cleaning and re-using, the next week. While I realise that this seems less convenient than just dumping bottles in a skip, it does seem irrational to me to have to send empty bottles, often overseas, to be reprocessed, when I'm sure a system for reusing a high percentage of them could be arranged. Plastic is another example of a problem that is ever growing but largely unnecessary. The huge amount of plastic used in packaging is largely totally useless. Why not put a dozen or an ounce (as it used to be) of nails in a paper bag like the iron -monger used to (four candles please). It's because you need more labour, but this will be irrelevant once the planet becomes uninhabitable. Milk in glass bottles, the bottles washed and used again was once the norm, now it's throw away plastic bottles. My biggest moan is plastic bags! next time you go to the shop, take a bag with you, and refuse the free plastic bag. It should be illegal to give them away, they are an unnecessary piece of litter as soon as they are empty. The worst thing about plastic is that in general no economic use for recycled plastic has been developed, and in Dover they no longer collect for recycling. Unlike a paper bag, a plastic bag is not readily composted and takes centuries to disintegrate.
One interesting use of waste products is this interesting piece of are made out of various items of rubbish. It is on display at the waste centre and the credits ore on the notice below.

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