View Full Version : Recycling waste

20th Dec 2008, 10:01
Councils dumping more than 200,000 tonnes of recycling every year - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3852372/Councils-dumping-more-than-200000-tonnes-of-recycling-every-year.html)

I read this and felt a bit sad.... :( I have always recycled, if the opportunity was there in various locales and having had the dubious pleasure of visiting landfill sites was horrified by the size and scale of the crap that we throw away. There are, of course, incinerators that produce electricity from waste, but these have been shown to produce and distribute PCBs into the local area due to lack of filters.

Now due to the collapse in markets where 'our' recycled products were previously re-made into new products, it seems that it is cheaper to bury or burn even the recycled elements. Why can each country not recycle their recycling in-house, so as not to have the huge costs of shipping it to China etc for re-use ?

Do you recycle willingly, or under duress or not at all ?



20th Dec 2008, 12:28
We have garbage police, and the garbage goes out in transparent bags. If not sorted correctly, the garbage is rejected with a warning note. A lot of people own shredders and make sure nothing with a readable name goes into a garbage bag. Three infractions, and it'll never get picked up again.

I moved from one part of town to another recently. Before I moved:

Previous part of town: sort waste into about 9 categories.
Current part of town: burnable and non-burnable.

After I moved:
Previous part of town drops recycling, everything is burnable, including plastic and PET bottles. Previous part of town owns an incinerator, and thinks the energy value of the waste is higher than the recycling value.

Current part of town: recently changed to a bazillion recycling categories, again some of which are counter-intuitive. Also, all plastic waste must be washed and dried.

So I sort willingly, but I'm not sure it's being done for any rational reason.

20th Dec 2008, 13:22
I lost faith in Council recycling when I was at my local tidy-tip, sorting all the glass into Green, Clear & Brown, when along comes the Council lorry to collect it, which then tips each container into the back, mixing them all up again. When challenged, said council employee says "only following orders" (Now where did I hear that last.........)

20th Dec 2008, 14:14
We're quite happy to recycle here at B&t Towers, but we also still get our household rubbish collected every week.

Having said that, if the council got shirty (and even sometimes when it doesn't) I just put stuff on the large bonfire which we have out the back every week or so.

It's just so difficult to get rid of tyres, oil, plastics and old electrical equipment any other way these days.

Gertrude the Wombat
20th Dec 2008, 14:16
which then tips each container into the back, mixing them all up again
Sometimes there's a premium market for separated glass, sometimes there aren't any customers willing to pay more. But if you don't collect it separated you don't have the choice, and always have to accept the non-separated price. Which might be the reasonable thing to do in some circumstances - it's all a bit complicated and can change quite fast.

Standard Noise
20th Dec 2008, 14:23
One gets a perverse pleasure in loading up the LandRover with it's 2.5L diesel engine to drive to the tip with recyclables. Still, until the lackwit bumpkins at the council pick it all up from my house then this will continue (haven't much choice since they only collect refuse once a fortnight).

Brewster Buffalo
20th Dec 2008, 14:24
Isn't the issue :) now that the worsening economy is making the market for recycled products shrink. I read somewhere that China was taking a lot of our waste paper but that has stopped now.

Councils have to do something with the rubbish and if they can't sell the glass, paper, plastic then into a big whole in the ground it will go.

20th Dec 2008, 14:56
I read somewhere that China was taking a lot of our waste paper but that has stopped now.Indeed, some time ago the Chinese economy slowed and warehouses are now filled with cardboard boxes awaiting product so no further raw materials are needed. Less finished product is leaving China so fewer empty ships need to be filled with our waste.

Gertrude the Wombat
20th Dec 2008, 16:01
Still, until the lackwit bumpkins at the council pick it all up from my house then this will continue
Well, that's up to you, innit. Unless of course you're one of the majority who can't be arsed to vote in local elections.

20th Dec 2008, 17:42
My county has weekly street-side recycling pickup. However I still frequent my county's Waste Transfer Facility". It has departments for:

> General trash to be taken by train to land-fill in West Virginia.
> Computer stuff
> Electronics including LOTS of TV sets
> Good used building material
> Mixed paper and cardboard
> Plastic, metal and glass bottles and cans - mixed
> Textiles
> Paint and used paint cans
> Tires (USA :))
> Motor oil
> Antifreeze
> Yard waste, limbs, branches - which are chopped up into mulch and there is always a large pile of mulch free for the taking.
> Metal with a subdepartment for fridges & window air condx. One day I estimated that there were 75 fridges lined up. Also an area for lawn mowers.

This is the general public entrance - there is a separate entrance for the trash and recycling pickup people.

We, the taxpayers, support a staff of trash police at the site.

Trash burning is forbidden in the county.

20th Dec 2008, 23:51
Boy, you guys have it so good with such efficient councils,

Our council built a $3M waste transfer station 10km further out of town than the old one, they charge us twice as much to drop anything and soon they will complete a $12M composting site. Quite an expenditure for a town of only 10,000 permanent residents. Their reasoning? We're going to be putting earth back in the land, we've been destroying earth for too long. (Earth as in dirt.)

And as for garbage pick up. What's that? We have the highest taxes in BC and we don't have that, why can't you take your own stuff to the garbage drop off like us?

21st Dec 2008, 09:54
Make no mistake, the absurd 'green' revolution has now brought us trash Police who will prosecute you for leaving wheelie bins overfilled and with the lid 4'' open, not sorting your trash into various 'recyclables' etc. They will then pick them all up, and dump them in the same hole in the ground. But will they go back on this absurd 'council job manufacture program'? No way Jose! What a waste of everybodies time. There is absolutely no problem with waste disposal. You buy up some patch of land with a valley between 2 hills, and you fill that valley making one larger flat hill. Then you put 20' of earth on top, plant it with grass and hedges, and you have a very nice dog walk! Might pong a bit of methane, and don't smoke near the chimneys coming out of it, but a very pragmatic, simple answer.

21st Dec 2008, 10:22
Islington Council is one of those imposing an average level of compliance - different bins for different materials, waste etc. householders warned if they Don't Obey.

Then some great truck comes around and - you guessed it ! - it's all dumped in the same container.

And here's another thing - not a pleasant subject but shows the lack of joined-up thinking. Elderly or disabled incontinent folk can get adult-sized "pampers" via the Council's social services. But when they have been used you are not allowed to put them in the garbage bin. In fact strictly speaking there's no collection service for these used items anywhere.

Compare to Spain: every community and urbanisation has a row of bins placed centrally. They are for household waste, glass, plastic bottles etc, and newspaper/cardboard. The household waste bins are emptied DAILY ! - yes, even on Christmas Day - and sterilised fortnightly. Larger items are collected if you phone the town hall. Every community has a nearby recycling centre: take your last house tax statement with you and you get money deducted from next year's bill when you dump large items yourself. And the racks of surplus electronics items are a treasure trove of old computers etc.....

Scumbag O'Riley
21st Dec 2008, 11:12
Took some stuff to local tip yesterday and unless you have already sorted your rubbish (then you have to lug it to the correct skip) it goes in a big pile on the road.

Then a yoof tears open all the bags with his bare hands and manually sorts through all the crap, putting the rubbish in the correct skip himself. Not a pleasant job and as I never see the same person there twice I guess there is quite a turnover. However they claim a 91% recycling rate so must get central government grants which is OK by me.

As for the suggestion voting in local elections would make a difference, all I can say is a big fat 'Hah Hah Hah Hah'.

Local council does a reasonable job with rubbish collections, could be better, but we have to remember it's a local authority we are dealing with so expectations have to be low. No doubt I will be told I simply don't understand :)

21st Dec 2008, 11:18
Re: My list of recycling categories above:

The Computer Stuff collection area has a large NO SAVAGING sign and a guard. Sigh!!


Standard Noise
21st Dec 2008, 18:50
Gertrude The Wombat
Well, that's up to you innit. Unless of course you're one of the majority who can't be arsed to vote in local elections.

As long as I've got a hole in my arse, I'll vote in any election I'm allowed to. I've never shied away from my duty to vote and I find it offensive for someone to imply otherwise.
And no, it's not 'up to me', this area has been taken over by the Dim Lebs and they seem to be unable or unwilling to put a rocket up the collective arse of the council officers.

cockney steve
22nd Dec 2008, 10:49
Tell me. someone.

A 7.5 ton , specially -bodied truck comes up the street, driver and 2 or3 operatives....they tip the assorted recyclables into a trough running the length of the vehicle and sort the metal,plastics and glass to various divisions......periodically the whole side hydraulically pivots out and upwards and the salvage slides into the topof the central (compartmentalised?) body.

There is no compaction.....so these 3 blokes, their 20K wagon with it's 8MPG consumption, gather about 1 ton of recyclables before being filled and returning to depot for emptying.4 loads a day, max. I reckon.

Anyone who thinks this is efficient, eco-friendly,or anything other than a political con-trick, wants locking up(or works for the government/council)

Please tell me I'm deluded and we are really just hoarding it until we DO find a use for it that is Eco -friendly AND economically viable.

22nd Dec 2008, 11:52
I was agreeing with you until you got to the 20K bit, Steve.

Don't reckon there would be much change out of 50K for the ones that I see.

22nd Dec 2008, 14:10
Brown wheelie for any garden waste I can't put in the compost bins;
Green wheelie for anything I can't recycle (primarily plastics & cooked food waste now);
Blue box for glass/metal;
Red box for cardboard;
Blue bag for paper.

I believe there's a plastics recycle point close by now, and I'm looking for a digester for cooked food waste.

Almost there. :ok:

22nd Dec 2008, 15:02
Brewster Buffalo wrote:-

"Isn't the issue http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/smile.gif now that the worsening economy is making the market for recycled products shrink. I read somewhere that China was taking a lot of our waste paper but that has stopped now.

Councils have to do something with the rubbish and if they can't sell the glass, paper, plastic then into a big whole in the ground it will go."

This whole recycling mullarkey was sold to the country on the basis of saving the planet and council tax was increased to pay for it.
Now it turns out that profit was being made and since the profit has now evaporated the rubbish is getting dumped.

China was taking all sorts of waste and burning much of it. Be as well burning it here.

22nd Dec 2008, 16:10
Just recently we received new instructions regarding recycling (itemizing which materials should be recycled) and were given a large new wheeled container dedicated to recycling only. So all material approved to be recycled is to be dumped loose into that container and all other trash goes into our own trash container, both of which we wheel out to the curb for truck pickup on separate days. Authorities say that the new recycling machine that they have purchased can handle this mix of recycle material thus saving the public the tedious task of precise sorting. Rinsing is not necessary.
Since fewer than 50% of homeowners/businesses were recycling at all, the hope is that this simplification will increase the number of persons who are willing to recycle. These new machines may be the answer. I will post back in 2012 or so to report if the new machine/procedure has the desired result.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Dec 2008, 20:12
unable or unwilling to put a rocket up the collective arse of the council officers
Yeah, well, you do have to have competent and effective politicians, or you end up with an officer run council, which as you've noticed isn't always to everyone's taste. Unfortunately this can happen to all parties.

Round here we think we run the council :). Which, I suspect, means that one of the following is true:

(a) actually we do run the council

(b) in fact the officers run it, but they're so clever at doing this that they've succeeding in hiding it from everybody


When I ask the chief exec which he thinks is going on he just grins at me.

Loose rivets
23rd Dec 2008, 01:00
When I read the things going on at home it makes my blood boil. When did local councils gain the right to order its local residents about like this? It's just plain madness.

They also order themselves to have bosses that get paid 200grand.

Here, we pay about the same Property tax as at home, but all forms of waste are picked up from the curb. All forms including the 'brush' - huge trees weighing tonnes are often left for pickup. Beds, sofas...well, anything that doesn't contain Freon. Last time my brush pile was 60' long and some of the bows were 5" across...it had taken me 3 days to cut and drag there, they took it in 3 mins...and hardly left a twig.

Back to the past at home. A certain Councillor Rose became very well known in the Harwich area I think it was. Our local often had reports of his determined battle with local authorities. One judge ordered him "Not to work himself up into a lather" during just one of the many court cases this aged rebel defended. I seem to remember him parading down the street on a horse and cart, covered in placards etc. Good on him, I say.

If more Brits had stopped taking that kind of Sh:mad:t years ago from trumped up, mindless cretins that send 50k lorries (yep, that's the price) - with their engines running to clatter point all day - round each little cul de sac to pick up something that could have been put in a shopping bag, then this madness would never have started in the first place. It's like malignant tendrils, winding themselves round hard working people's throats. Worse and worse and worse. Brits are just too trusting. People just do not realize how sinister this kind of authoritarian manipulation is.

Our little group of street cleaners was chopped, and the job put out to contractors. They leave undone areas, damage curbs, chip lumps out of our beautiful trees. They don't give a toss, and they cost far, far more than the old guys.

Somebody needs to take a stand against this kind of bureaucracy.

23rd Dec 2008, 12:12
You've stirred a long forgotten memory there, Loose !

Remember old 'Pommy' Rose well - except why he was called Pommy?

edit to say that whilst driving to the supermarket the thought came to me that it was 'Pummy' not Pommy. Still can't think why though.

Beatriz Fontana
23rd Dec 2008, 14:39
Forgive my complete ignorance, but where does it say that, to live in a certain area of the UK, one has to abide by the council's recycling plan? Where did the legislation come from that forced residents to abide by recycling or else?

Try recycling when you don't have a car... I had that row with the council. It was funny but you had to be there, really.

Gertrude the Wombat
23rd Dec 2008, 19:41
Forgive my complete ignorance, but where does it say that, to live in a certain area of the UK, one has to abide by the council's recycling plan? Where did the legislation come from that forced residents to abide by recycling or else?
I believe there is no such law. Certainly in my council there is no "or else".
Try recycling when you don't have a car...
Kerbside collection of pretty well everything except batteries (which have some daft H&S legislation) round here. As always, you get the local council you choose to vote and pay for - up to you, your choice.

23rd Dec 2008, 23:22
It might be time to wheel out the Human Rights Act. As I understand it you cannot be forced to perform unpaid work. If the council were to wash and sort rubbish they would need to employ someone to do it.

By requiring you to do this under some vague threat they are enslaving you all be it in a limited way. If they do not pick up your rubbish then you should be entitled to a refund on your council tax. If you can find a friendly judge he might even rule they are in breach of contract.

24th Dec 2008, 09:45
Here in Dublin I know they try, but it's a bit hit and miss. Where I used to live, about two miles from Dublin centre, there was no sensible way of recycling plastics: the kerbside recycling company that ran the contract could not take plastics, and the bottle banks couldn't either: only the recycling centre out where the buses don't run. I just moved flat, about two miles further south, in to a different borough council that uses a different company, and this one does take plastics.

I've studied Materials a bit, and Plastics are a nightmare in environmental terms. The hardest plastics are thermosetting, which means that they cure (chemically or under heat) and undergo an irreversible chemical change that hardens them, and in most cases they can not be recycled, ever, just burned. Vulcanized rubber tyres are an example - they tend to get burned as a fuel for e.g. cement furnaces, releasing plenty of CO2 in the process.

Thermoplastics are the opposite, since they can be melted and reformed, which is why I wish there was better labelling of plastic containers. Just as you sort green glass from brown glass and clear glass, you ought to be able to sort ABS from PET from PVC, as you recycle them.