Waste is a valuable thing. That might sound strange but if you look at it, there was a point in the life of that bit of rubbish when it was appreciated, maybe even loved, writes Peter Gudde.
Waste is a valuable thing. That might sound strange but if you look at it, there was a point in the life of that bit of rubbish when it was appreciated, maybe even loved.
I took some of my ‘rubbish’ to acar boot sale a couple of Sundays ago. My kids have moved on from ‘can we play Lego?’ to ‘can I have driving lessons?’ so we needed a clear out. It was sad seeing some cherished, childhood artefacts snapped up for 50p. But, the plus side was seeing another ecstatic five year old walk away clutching his ‘new’ Power Ranger.
I thought about using eBay and even bought the parcel tape and brown paper. But then I lost the will so plumped for ‘car boot’ then ‘charity shop’. After my trips to both, I had little to go to the tip, as we traditionally call recycling centres.
Now, Kev at my local facility would probably throw me into one of his skips if I called his place a tip. Crispin Recycling first took over the site when its future was uncertain. He now runs it with his family and will do anything to help local residents to ‘get rid’.
He needs to get as much value as possible from what we throw away to make any profit. It’s hard, physical work and he uses his charm to explain to customers what can and cannot be recycled. Kev has to cope with whatever comes through the gate and make what he can get from it to keep trading.
With recycling, there are doubters who say that little actually comes back into use. Only the bad news about tyre mountains and warehouses full of rubbish get into the press. Kev and those in the know paint a different picture. Although one third of locally collected household recycling goes abroad for re-processing, that’s because we buy foreign goods which come in the same containers that take our plastic and metal stuff back.
There is massive debate to be had around where and how things are made. But whatever the position you take, closing the loop is the way ahead, not producing waste the aim and zero waste the vision.
We, too, can help get more value out of our rubbish. Simple changes to what we do can make a difference and will cheer up your local refuse operative. And if you see Kev, give him a thumbs-up when you recycle.
How to make the most of your recycling bins at home:
Blue bin – All paper, cardboard, tins, cans and plastics should be placed loose as they are hand-sorted. Textiles need to be placed in council-branded bags.
Brown Bin – Teabags, coffee grounds, vegetable, fruit peelings and shredded paper.
Textiles – To get a free replacement bag, call your local council’s waste management service.
For a full list of what can go in each of your bins, please read ‘Your Guide to Recycling’ leaflet. More information is available on your local council’s website. You can also contact St Edmundsbury Borough Council on 01284 757320 or Forest Heath District Council on 01638 719284.
Crispin Recycling Ltd won the Greenest Newcomer Award at the Creating the Greenest County Awards 2013.
Finally, please accept a humble apology. I focused last month on getting good advice, then gave the opposite. This was not me being totally useless, more a timing issue. The website for environmental advice closed down between me writing and you reading! So, let me try again – Register for your business environmental update at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/
-- Peter Gudde is environment manager for St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils.