Listening to the radio on a Monday morning should be relaxing, but I am feeling quite angry. The new government are scrapping the plans of the previous government to make us all pay for what we throw away, replacing it with incentives to recycle.
So, instead of reducing the amount of rubbish we are creating we are now going to be rewarded for buying more stuff and how are we going to be rewarded – we will get vouchers to buy more stuff – a vicious circle. If you don’t buy very much, then no rewards for you – we need you to buy things – after all, that is what our economy is built on – shopping.
Do I think recycling is a bad thing? Certainly not, but I think we should be at a point now where not recycling is unheard of, unthought of. We shouldn’t have to be rewarded for recycling.
What I do think is that if you throw things away you should pay for it – after all you are taking more landfill and more of that scarce resource – space. It is the only way to make people think about what they are buying and why. I understand the argument, there would be more flytipping, and burning of rubbish or putting it in the neighbours bin – then we will have to be more vigilant.
The pay as you throw works in Belgium – why are we not capable of managing such a scheme. While it may not be the best way, it is surely a start in the right direction.
There were more headline making facts coming from WRAP’s look at the rubbish we (that is a collective we as a nation, I am not accusing anyone, or admitting to any guilt myself) are throwing away. Â A summary presented on the BBC news website includes the claim that we are throwing away 1.3 million unopened pots of yoghurt and yoghurt drink a day, which adds up to 484 million pots a year. Whilst I do admit that I have, on occasion, thrown away the occasional pot that has past its sell by date, this statistic means that each household throws away 22 pots a year, 2 a month. Not that many really, but who is throwing mine away? (I have now started buying the bigger pots and use the pot and its plastic lid as containers for soup and stock for the freezer and as miniature propagators for seeds.) This equates to nearly 10% of all yoghurt bought in the UK being thrown away without being opened.
WRAP commissioned a company to search through the rubbish of over 2000 households over a 5 week period and sort it into food and non-food and then record details of what was thrown away. This is part of the same work that discovered that we throw away 4 million apples a year (see my earlier post Interesting Articles). For those who think this is a problem with today’s throwaway generation, there was apparently no age differential between those who threw a lot of food away and those who were less wasteful. So, yes, you’ve guessed it, when you are in the supermarket, think about when you are going to eat those items that are making their way into your basket.