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Bonkers Blog October 2015

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5 October (Part 1) - The perfect storm making recycling a chore

Today is a black day for obsessive recyclers like I somehow became. I’m not sure how I descended to that level of nerdiness because when the first sign of all the rules, regulations and landfill taxes were seen in Europe I felt as I do about most things European. Mind your own bloody business.

But Bexley council made recycling an easy thing to do and most importantly made no attempt to impose draconian conditions, fines etc. Credit where it is due, the scheme was introduced under the auspices of cabinet member Gareth Bacon. Maybe it was actually his idea, I don’t know.

I was particularly fortunate to have some big communal bins nearby but out of sight so I didn’t need to have a garden cluttered with anything more than one green and one brown bin. The ease of recycling and lack of onerous regulation allowed Bexley to rise towards the top of the national recycling league tables, in part because it was happy to take away large quantities of heavy garden waste, thereby bumping up the percentage of total waste that could be recycled.

Then the council started to throw those advantages away and introduce petty rules about bin lids not fully closed etc. A year ago cabinet member Don Messy decided to overturn everything and risk a change that has affected every household in the borough.

TweetAs everyone must know by now, garden waste removal has become a chargeable service and the transition period has been anything but smooth.

From today all gardeners are either disadvantaged or charged and non-gardeners must suffer too.

Where they used to have a food waste bin of 140 litres emptied every week, they now have only a 23 litre bin. That was the figure mentioned in council, I’ve not checked it but is is undoubtedly much smaller than 140 litres.

On the other hand it is far too big to keep in most kitchens. Almost no one is happy and even those residents who never usually give their council a thought have reason to bear a grudge. Not the best of council strategies.

While Bexley council is intent on making life difficult for its residents, the government is intent on making life more difficult for almost everyone. From today the supermarkets are forbidden from offering free carrier bags.

Out of consideration for the refuse collectors, all my green bin waste has been carefully wrapped into carrier bags. I’m not sure where they all come from (a visitor probably) because I have used an old fashioned cloth bag for many years past, and more recently a big canvas thing from Tesco, when doing my shopping.

BagsWhen my stock of bags is exhausted the rubbish will have to be tipped loose into the green bin. Either that or I buy black sacks which doesn’t exactly help the green agenda does it? Thank goodness for those charity sacks.

The onward march of compulsory water meters in Bexley is another step towards making recycling more difficult. I have already stopped washing tins but haven’t yet been able to bring myself to throw unwashed marmalade jars away. But I am working on it.

Companies that impose a levy on their customers without any legal requirement, charitable or not, I avoid like the plague. Who do they think they are deciding where my money goes? The blasted European Union?

If he had not already provided me with several dozen reasons to never vote for him again, David Cameron has given me another one today.

If you are surprised by the rebellious streak, you shouldn’t be. Without it there would be no Bexley is Bonkers.


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