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Post Info TOPIC: How is the recycling in your neck of the woods


Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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How is the recycling in your neck of the woods


Is there recycling in your area and what's it like for you?

As of this month we've been given new bins to use. Before we had a big rubbish bin (taken every week) and a big general recycling bin (every two weeks). From our point of view this worked. Now we have:

1 mini food waste bin (every week)

1 small recycling bin for plastics, glass, cans and cartons (every two weeks)

1 big recycling bin for paper and card (every two weeks)

1 big rubbish bin for waste (every two weeks)

I like that this is happening but wondering how it will go. For one thing, our biggest recycling waste is tins, plastics and glass so we have less than half the space for this. With a hungry growing dog we've decided to buy a tin can crusher. What if someone can't afford this and has a dog or two, or eats way more tinned food? How much harder will this be for them?

The council says 40% of what we throw away is food waste. I'm not disputing the general statistics but I'm not sure it's the case in our household. There are just two people in my house; I think we mainly throw away packaging that can't be recycled. If the biggest recycling bin is for paper and card that doesn't work for us because it's perhaps more relevant to people who do lots of online shopping? Our main (and problematic) cardboard waste is pizza boxes! Oh Lord, ever the towering mound of pizza boxes! They are considered general waste and even a single pizza evening with friends would fill most of our general waste box for the week when it has to last a fortnight. Even if we cut the boxes up small, I'm wondering about space.

I think this system will work well for people who cook their own food from scratch, buy local, buy minimum packaging. I'm not sure how it will work for everyone in our area. What about houses with lots of people, or houses where recycling is in no way a priority, or houses with people who may use way more tins or glass bottles etc.? Is there going to be more fly tipping or waste just lying around?

I'm glad I'm being pushed to do more but for some people this might be one more trial. I'll be interested to see how this first month goes and find out more about how we use waste and what we can do. How's recycling for you??



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Mookish Deity Most High

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This is super interesting because I've just moved into a flat with different recycling facilities. The house I grew up in (after recycling became commonplace) had one big bin for general waste, one big bin for general recycling, the same system as your old one. We also had a food waste bin. With the exception of one flat I've lived in, which had no food waste, every house I'd lived in up until last year was the same.

When Paco and I moved here, we realised this was an area without wheelie bins (shock horror!) and all rubbish was just put out on the street. The system is general waste and food waste every week, and cardboard / plastics alternate weeks. The council do collect glass and tins but we've never had the specific bin for it, so we've always taken our glass and tins down to the nearby recycling point. One benefit of this system is that amount of rubbish isn't an issue - fill up one bag or ten, as long as you put them out they'll be collected. I remember my mother having to use neighbours' bins in the past because the rubbish collectors would refuse to take an overfilled bin.

I've been living in my new flat for a week, and I've quickly realised the other people in the building do not recycle. There's no food waste up here (I'm not sure if that's simply because the building owner doesn't trust us), which is a bit disappointing for me because I have a fair amount of food waste (onion skins, banana peels, etc.) that now has to go in the general waste.

I do sorely wish for a food waste bin, and I also wish the other people in the building would recycle. I don't think the local council has been especially good in terms of encouraging people to recycle, but then again I have been raised to recycle and have been fortunate enough to live with people who care.

Sidenote: There is an unpleasant system in place where all the bins are taken downstairs into the dreaded "bin room", to be put out each week on a rota system by each flat. I don't see why each flat can't put out their own rubbish separately. It's my turn tonight and I'm just thankful I don't have to clean it.

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Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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Oh, the bin room sounds quite something! And I wish you had my food bin, sounds like it would be more treasured and respected with you. Not sure how I'd feel about no wheelie bins but it's been so interesting to hear your pros and cons! I hate stuff just being out on the street because wild animals can get in and throw it around and it just seems unsanitary to me. But in your flat it sounds like this dreaded bin room deals with that? And I'm not sure how to encourage people to care if they haven't been brought up to do so, there's only so much a leaflet you choose to read or don't can do?

On a separate note I'm kind of interested in the rubbish going on in our local park. When I head out with the dog I often take a placcy bag and fill it as we amble around. It's no big deal and I get pleasure from it. The main waste comes from the junior football sessions every Saturday. I think they do pick up rubbish afterwards but there's a fair bit, so it doesn't all get picked up and it builds up cumulatively. I wonder if it's worth starting up a Friends of Blah Park organisation and if anyone would be interested and how to get in touch with people when there's no noticeboard or way to float the idea? I think the council probably has someone to pick up rubbish but not all the time. Maybe it's a small thing but for some people this is their key bit of nature and even if someone hasn't been brought up to psychologically appreciate a natural space I think a space that's all green with no rubbish must make a difference to their joy levels anyway?

UPDATE: I finally had some scraps to put in the food bin. Huzzah!



-- Edited by Magda Mookychick on Wednesday 5th of April 2017 03:03:52 PM

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Lush Guru

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The bin room sounds like absolute hell. What is the rota for? Everyone takes turns to collect all the flat bins and take them to hell/bin room?

We have wheelie bins, one grey (general waste) and two red (dry, mixed recycling). You only get one red bin officially, but you can request extras (for free!) from the council, so we did that around the wedding plans time as I was ordering a lot from Amazon. We generally fill about 1.5 recycling bins now as they are collected every two weeks.

The council does not pick up glass or food waste, and have quite strict rules in place about "dry, mixed recycling". No plastic bottle caps (I take them to Lush), no fruit and veg punnets (I try and not buy them, but damn I love me some berries), no yoghurt pots. Clean tins, cardboard, paper and recyclable plastics only.

We take the glass round to the local Co-Op, which is luckily very nearby (I say we, I make The Captain do it) and we have a little kitchen compost caddy which gets emptied into the huge compost bin at the end of the garden. The compost bin is currently gross so I am concerned that we're doing it wrong - there are loads of flies all around it? Is it too food-heavy? Should we fold in some drier material? (We've got some ash from a little burning session).

My fave part of our bin system (if I had to pick one) is the garden waste bin. Since not everything can go into compost, it is really useful. You have to pay for the bin, and as of this month you have to pay annually for it to be collected but it's only about 50 so not bad value at all for a fortnightly collection of a wheelie bin full of garden scraps/weeds/the ivy The Captain has pulled off the side of the garage.

I wish we could put more in our mixed recycling, I think a lot of people round here don't bother separating too much because of the rules (especially around plastics). Maybe the council will upgrade the recycling centre at some point.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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We live in Sweden where recycling is nothing short of a national sport. We separate the following:

- paper
- cardboard
- clear glass
- coloured glass
- plastics
- general waste
- unused/expired medicines (we take them back to the chemist)

Unfortunately, we don't have a food waste bin and walking to the nearest recycling centre takes about 30 minutes, which isn't ideal with a gross drippy bag full of food waste in tow. I was brought up by my nature-loving hippie mum, so I feel really bad about not recycling food waste. I'd love to have a garden with a compost bin, but we need to move first!

Bin rooms are hell. When I lived in halls, I would make the dreaded trip to the bin room once a week and would hold my breath, dispose of the bags, get the fuck out of the room, then breathe again. Ew.


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Mookish Deity Most High

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Spiggy, I wish I lived in a country where recycling was a national sport.

My heart is shattered. The idea of the bin room is that everyone puts their bins in the room, and the flat on the rota takes the whole building's bins out on bin day. I typically only use one lot of bins per week, so they go straight from my kitchen to the street. Unfortunately, last week (when I assumed everyone put their own bins out) it was done by the landlord because he was worried I'd forget. Tomorrow I have to put five flats' worth of bins out. Yuck.

In June, the council are introducing wheelie bins (yay! although it won't affect me), will give out recycling bags and boxes free, will stop giving free black bags to households, and are introducing a maximum number of black sacks. I don't think that's much of an incentive to recycle (more stick than carrot) but I suppose it's better than nothing.

My nearest recycling centre is about 30 minutes away by bus. I've found it really difficult to cope with putting food waste in the general waste, especially as I like to do a lot of cooking from scratch, but I'm also not about to make that journey with a smelly wet bag of food waste on the bus. The hardest part for me, because I'm only one and take home food from work as well, is managing to eat things before they go off.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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This thread is making me realise how awful the recycling situation is where I live (well where my parents live/ where I consider 'home'). We have no council recycling facilities. We get two blue bin bags a week for general waste, they are put out on the street every Wednesday for collection and that's it.

Thankfully we live a 5 min walk from a Morrisons with recycling facilities, so we have our own system of sorting paper, card, tins and glass inside the house and we take them over to the recycling bins our-selves. I'd never even heard of food waste recyling bins until this thread, I've always (perhaps quite naively) just assumed that if you put food waste in a general waste bin then it'll break down and essentially compost itself in the landfill and not be an issue.

At the minute I'm living in private student halls while I'm on placement, and it makes me so sad that there are no recycling facilities at all, not even anywhere near by we could walk to with it, so everything has to just be put in the normal bin.

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Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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This threat has made me realise I should be more appreciative of the food recycling bin and I am treating it with respect, putting egg shells in the compost (yay compost) and everything else in the food bin. We had our first collection this week and it was like Christmas, everyone peeking out to see what would happen. Actually the recycling bins got taken away a day late, but they got taken away. I think I like this new system.

Also, Alka it was great to hear you like your garden waste bin. I was wondering about the cost but it sounds like it's worth it so I think I'll give it a go.

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Lush Guru

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Yeah I think it's worth it. We don't drive at the mo, so it's stuff like a wall full of ivy that The Captain pulled down that would either need to go to the tip or (more likely) sit in a pile in the garden making a bloody mess for years. Is yours about the same price (36 for the bin, 50/year for collection)

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Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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Yep same kind of price! Badgerman is currently out of action for driving and also I quite like to get on and do stuff when I feel like it (in fact I should be learning to drive soon once my provisional licence gets sorted).

Er, weirdly enough Sutton #bingate made the BBC news. Although I can't find the BBC thing so here's a link to, um, The Sun. www.thesun.co.uk/news/3297859/residents-queue-two-hours-new-recycling-bins/

And a This Is Local London piece - www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/15205662.Controversial_new_bin_collection_wheeled_out_across_Sutton/

The change was all done through the private agency Veolia, and the logistics caused some problems. Like they said you could get a free green bin at B&A and thousands of people showed up to queue for a green bin and there weren't enough to go round. And there were huge queues at the dump because people couldn't fit everything into their glass and plastic bins. I'm still processing but I think change always takes getting used to (like no free plastic bags) but also some people are definitely going to have problems. Like the promised nappy collections didn't work out.

I'm also thinking I should draw some pretty house numbers on my bins. I've only ever had a bin nicked once in my life but The Sun has assured me this is a suburban apocalypse!

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Lush Guru

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Ooh yes definitely put your numbers on! First thing we did with the green bin because The Captain is incredibly paranoid about bin thefts haha.

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