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DX Wombat
15th Jan 2009, 22:51
This afternoon I arrived at the Otley (http://www.shrubs.co.uk/otley-315-c.asp) branch of Stephen Smith's Garden Centres to find the staff putting up notices from the owner. They had received a demand from Leeds Council to the effect that they stop issuing, and therefore recycling, cardboard boxes in which they had received goods. The boxes, said the female from the council were to be recycled, ie in the special bins for recycling cardboard, and customers who wanted / needed a box should be supplied with brand new ones or extra plastic carrier bags. As the owner of the place said, he was speechless and so am I. Does this person not realise that she is recommending actions which will DOUBLE the amount of cardboard requiring recycling, greatly increase the number of plastic bags which will find their way into landfill sites and increase carbon emissions from the manufacturing processes needed to produce them? The mind boggles.

TBirdFrank
15th Jan 2009, 23:07
Ask the silly buggers to show you the legal requirement - or tell'em to **** orf!

I had a run in with Oldham MBC - that's Roy Oldham MBC when they started trying to lay down rules.

I just asked them for their qualifications in the relevant discipline and why their territory was different than the rest of the UK.

There was huffing and puffing and stamping of little feet, - but they have gone away!

Scumbag O'Riley
15th Jan 2009, 23:14
The council probably consider it commercial waste and don't like the fact the business is passing it off to households who will put it in their bins. Therefore council has to dispose of it for free. If the garden centre put it in their bins they would have to pay the council to take it away. They would also have to make sure it was 'safe'.

Just explaining it, not justifying it.

cockney steve
15th Jan 2009, 23:33
Frank... have you wondered WHY OMBC can suddenly recycle cardboard this year? Southend did it 40 years ago,Sent it to become RoyalBoard, the best Hardboard that money could buy.

It has NOTHING to do with the Council's target to improve their recycling score each year!

I predict that NEXT year, we'll be able to recycle coloured plastics and vacuum-moulded food trays


and the council's recycling will show another improvement :}

Cynical? Moi? :hmm:

old,not bold
15th Jan 2009, 23:59
Can anyone explain why the owner of the Garden Centre believed he had to obey these instructions?

If and when a Council Official starts issuing instructions about anything the only possible reaction is to ask to see the law or bye-law giving the Council the power to demand whatever it is.

There probably won't be one, especially when it's about something like the new Leeds Cardboard Disposal Regulations dreamed up by some idiot who doesn't quite understand that he or she, as a Council worker, has no powers to make regulations every time he or she gets another clever wheeze.

Alternatively you can just ignore them, or pretend you don't understand, or if you like a bit of fun start writing letters seeking clarification, then clarification of the clarification, then clarification of that reply, then... .....you get the idea. It's important to pick on and query very tiny details.

In the Leeds case, the Garden Centre owner should immediately have started a written correspondence (2nd Class post) about the grades of cardboard that had to be recycled, whether separate bins were needed for each grade, what was the maximum allowable non-cardboard content, by weight and/or volume, such as plastic labelling, whether staples were to be removed and if so with what allowance for error, if any, and could the Council help with suggesting out-sourcing possibilities for H&S training for staple removers as well as for sourcing suitably approved tooling for this task. The letters should always end "We are anxious to introduce the new methods within the shortest feasible timeframe, having allowed for appropriate reskilling of staff, retooling, reorganisation and preparation and we look forward to your early reply to assist us in achieving this shared and desirable goal. We aim to have completed our risk analysis and assessment of the new procedures within 90 days of engaging a specialist consultant after a rigorous selection process, and will be happy to let you see a copy of the report that is eventually submitted before we start any work on this very significant project."

That concept is not original although I have adapted it to the specific case; it's from a book in the loo entitled "Bureaucrats, and how to Annoy Them". A Bible for me for these 40 years since, constantly in use.

Scumbag O'Riley
16th Jan 2009, 00:18
Can anyone explain why the owner of the Garden Centre believed he had to obey these instructions?See my post above.

Relevant laws include

Environment Protection Act 1990
The Controlled Waste Regulations 1992

Recycling is a bit of a red herring

cockney steve
16th Jan 2009, 11:05
If it still has a use, it's not waste, is it?

Last time I looked, boxes were to contain and protect items.....the fact that a specific box has a specific brand-name printed on it, does not mean that ONLY that item is allowed in the box..it's circumstantial evidence and would not stand as evidence in a criminal prosecution.

Had a stack, 3 foot high, of cartons, all the same, clean flat,no tape, palletised.
Not enough for used-carton brokers, council wouldn't allow tipping at amenity area, I had to hire a wheeled skip ,which they would then remove.....so the lot went in the regular wheeled skip,week by week, for landfill.

old,not bold
16th Jan 2009, 17:19
OK Scumbag, so far so good.

Now, where exactly are the words in either or both of those instruments which make it illegal for retailers to re-use cardboard containers for the purpose of packing goods for their customers?

I don't disbelieve you, and am prepared to be educated.

You hint at other laws; what are they, exactly?

Desert Diner
16th Jan 2009, 18:05
Recycling ordinances = Council Jobsworth's Empire

There is a regulation in Ireland that plastic liquid containers must be clean if they are to be placed in the appropriate bins.

I would venture to say that 90% of the pensioners clean and dry their milk cartons before they place them in the appropriate bins. And why would they do this? Because they like to follow ordiances to the "T" or because they are afraid some jobsworth would actually fine them?

It is the latter.

Scumbag O'Riley
16th Jan 2009, 18:30
old not bold,

Now, where exactly are the words in either or both of those instruments which make it illegal for retailers to re-use cardboard containers for the purpose of packing goods for their customers?

Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990

Section 34 (1)(c)

It shall be the duty of any person on the transfer of the waste, to secure that the transfer is only to an authorised person.Yer customer is not an authorised person.

As I said, I'm not justifying, only explaining the actions of the council.

west lakes
16th Jan 2009, 20:46
It shall be the duty of any person on the transfer of the waste, to secure that the transfer is only to an authorised person.

Nor is the council the body that declares it as waste, it is the owner of said cardboard boxes.

Where I work we have a waste transfer licence, we handle quantities of off circuit oil filled equipment. Now when the licence was set up there was a lot of discussion about this with the Environment Agency (who can be worse than councils).
If the plant is scrap when it comes into the depot & during transport we would have to treat it in a different manner than it being off-circuit. When it enters the depot it is assessed and a decision made at that point by us, as the owners, as to whether is is scrap (waste) or reusable, in the mean time it is held in a quarantine area.
If scrap it is de-oiled (oil reprocessed by ourselves so not waste) and the remainer is held for collection by an authorised company.
If for reuse it is placed in the new plant area.

So I would say the same applies, if the garden centre wishes to reuse packaging it is up to them not the council.

DX Wombat
16th Jan 2009, 21:47
Thank you all for the replies so far. They are fascinating and I shall forward them to the owner. :ok:

Scumbag O'Riley
16th Jan 2009, 21:59
Waste is defined in statute and it's a very broad definition. In fact it's worse than that - it's waste unless proven otherwise!

As I suggested in my first post, there are also financial implications which might have the council poking their nose in.

I do not justify the council actions, just trying to explain their way of thinking.

old,not bold
16th Jan 2009, 22:15
Scumbag

Thanks for the clarification.

However, that extract is about waste.

As West Lakes said, something becomes waste only when someone decides that it no longer has a use, and wishes to dispose of it.

The Garden Centre's boxes are not waste if the Centre wants to use them again, and they can do what they like with them so long as they do not turn them into waste. Ramming them up the bureaucrat's jacksie would be a legitimate use, and so far as the Act you quote is concerned quite legal.

You have fallen into the trap, if you'll forgive me, of quoting laws without thinking about whether they are really applicable. Many Council Officials and their advisers do the same.

BlooMoo
16th Jan 2009, 22:17
Waste is defined in statute and it's a very broad definition. In fact it's worse than that - it's waste unless proven otherwise

Show me, please.

Scumbag O'Riley
16th Jan 2009, 22:19
You have fallen into the trap, if you'll forgive me, of quoting laws without thinking about whether they are really applicable. Many Council Officials and their advisers do the same.

And you've fallen into the trap of failing to read and understand what I have said all along.

I'll say it again.

I do not seek to justify their actions, I am merely explaining how they think.

Clear?

Bloomoo.

I've given you the statutes that apply. Look it up yourself.


Cheers all

Flypro
17th Jan 2009, 08:48
Old,not bold,

Many thanks for the lead to that book.
I've just bought a copy from Amazon (1p + p&p) and looking forward to having some fun with my local council tossers who, for example, have just decided to become a Unitary Authority despite a vote of 98% against the idea by Joe Public!!!!!!!!!

old,not bold
17th Jan 2009, 10:17
Scumbag,

Yes, I see that....It's just that you have a way of making your interpretation of a bureaucrat's thoughts sound very much like your own. However, I readily accept that, read carefully, you were misunderstood.

Now, back to the annoyance of officials; it's just occurred to me that ramming re-used cardboard up a bureaucrat's jacksie has the added benefit of passing on the problem of waste disposal to the bureaucrat in a rather elegant way.

As it goes in, it isn't waste. But after the rammee has removed the material it is, by any civilised standard. I hope that he or she then scrupulously obeys all the Regulations.

Flypro: Well Done! You are clearly a man, sorry, person of action. On my desk it's accompanied by "How to Lie with Statistics", a brilliant little number from the same era, which Civil Servants and Politicians must still be using daily. Their techniques are all covered in that book.

Scumbag O'Riley
17th Jan 2009, 11:42
It's just that you have a way of making your interpretation of a bureaucrat's thoughts sound very much like your ownThe best way to outfox your enemy is to understand how they think.

Also essential if you want to be good at chess and poker.

Being able to argue their side is key to this.

So what do I think, and this is the first time I have given it.

Well, there are a lot of business out there who would take the piss on disposing of their waste if the law wasn't strict. And the law on waste disposal is indeed very strict and some people above are clearly wrong in their interpretations of it.

What needs to happen is that the laws are used as guidance for wise men and not obedience by fools. We only know the story of the garden centre and the council as given above, we do not know if their is any prior history. However, knowing councils like I do, it would not be a total surprise if there was a lot of obedience going on :)

Sainsburys are always very nice to me in giving me empty wine boxes at the checkout to carry my large wine purchases home. I think that is good customer service. Also probably against the law :)

All the best

old,not bold
17th Jan 2009, 12:19
OK, so you think almost exactly as the Councils whose views you are "explaining" think.

Now, in case there is any misunderstanding,

Also probably against the law

IT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO RE-USE A CARDBOARD CONTAINER!

It may or may not be against the law to dispose of it in a particular way, once there is no further use for it.

I despair at the repetition of pseudo-legal mythology as though it were fact by people claiming expertise. If you want to really get me started, try saying that something is illegal or mandatory "because of Data Protection", and for an encore tell me that some activity is either illegal or mandatory "because of 'elth 'n safety." Even the HSE have been issuing leaflets listing the most common myths.

95% of the assertions made about these two sets of rules are untrue. I repeat; 95%.

Blacksheep
19th Jan 2009, 07:33
if you like a bit of fun start writing letters seeking clarification, then clarification of the clarification, then clarification of that reply, then... .....you get the idea. It's important to pick on and query very tiny detailsI can recommend a nice little book called "Bureaucrats And How To Annoy Them." :ok:

My favourite tip from the book is that of giving all your letters a reference number. Then you miss one out and send a letter complaining that you haven't received a response to the non-existent one. Or try over paying a fee by a small but significant amount then asking for a refund.

BlueWolf
19th Jan 2009, 07:59
Just tell them to **** off. There isn't really very much that many of them can do, on the spot, in the face of being so instructed.

Some years ago one was invloved in a community improvement project. It required the use of a digger and truck to remove spoil from the side of the road in the main street of our small town.

Rather graciously, a local contractor had offered the use of just such a digger and truck, gratis, during his lunch break, which he was taking at the local pub.

Present were self, the publican of the aforementioned pub (who was driving the truck), a local helicopter pilot (aviation content :E) who was also skilled in the use of a digger, and an elderly widow. I'm not sure what she was doing which may have been of any use, but then the same could apply to me. :p

Shortly after our alloted free hour began, a functionary of the council's contracted road consultancy firm arrived, in his official vehicle with standard flashing orange lights.

He proceeded to inform us that we didn't have the proper permit, didn't have a road closure notice or a traffic management plan, didn't have cones out, weren't wearing reflector vests...etc etc etc. This despite the road having had one car on it all day, that being his.

It was explained to him that we were carrying out a community project, that we had the use of the machinery for a very short time, that it was all a charitable exercise, and so on. He responded by repeating his list of our statutory requirements.

The publican then leaned out of his truck window, and enquired of the functionary, "why don't you just **** off?"

....to which the functionary blustered, stammered, went red, and then got back in his car and did just that.

We didn't see him again.

:D

A A Gruntpuddock
20th Jan 2009, 00:06
Thanks for the info about the book, I have just ordered a copy!

As an ex 'Cooncil' worker, I know that the most important factors in any situation are to 'put it in writing and keep a copy' and 'go to the top'.

This has served me well over the years.

Whilst 99% of the time people are just doing their jobs in accordance with legislation and local government/ company rules and it is a waste of time taking offence, if you really feel that anything is not being done properly go straight to the top!

I recently had a problem with my gas bill which was very similar to a protracted problem I had a year ago; this time I wrote to the relevant director enclosing copies of previous correspondence and it was sorted immediately.

I received a very patronising letter from the local authority explaining that my security lighting was shining into other peoples's homes and causing them some annoyance, that this was in breach of some regulations or other and I was being placed on an anti-social register. I replied to the head of department pointing out that had his staff bothered to visit my house they would have noted that I have no such lighting (I suspect it was my neighbours lights). Cue apologetic visit from the author of the letter! They would have been in the deep doodoo if I had taken it further so were keen to placate me.

Sometimes you can get away with a bit of blackmail. At one time I was getting harassed by someone in another Cooncil department about safety issues (road signs, etc) used by my contractor. Their staff were the worlds worst so I just carried a camera until I came across one of their sites. I phoned the person in charge and asked where I should send the photos I had just taken and had no further problems.

under_exposed
20th Jan 2009, 07:59
Bureaucrats And How To Annoy Them.

You mean give them more work so they can take on more staff?

old,not bold
21st Jan 2009, 23:31
Blacksheep, thanks for quoting from my post on Page 1.

I'm only sorry you didn't get all the way to the last para., but I accept it was a bit verbose.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Jan 2009, 10:34
The council probably consider it commercial waste and don't like the fact the business is passing it off to households who will put it in their bins.
That's probably the legal explanation.

However, whilst council officers will normally refuse direct instructions from councillors to break the law, in a sane council, like mine, the councillors will drop hints that it would be nice if lunacy could be avoided, and the officers will look the other way and whistle rather than notice commercial waste finding its way into the domestic recycling stream.

DX Wombat
27th Jan 2009, 20:55
When I got home tonight I found this message from the owner of the Garden Centre waiting for me in my email:

Further to previous e-mails, and as a result of your support and that from other customers I am now pleased to report that Leeds Council have backed down and are allowing us to provide boxes for our customers once again!
Thank you very much indeed for helping us with this,

So, thank you everyone who helped with their suggestions it would appear that commonsense and people power have won the day. :D :D :D :D :D

ShyTorque
27th Jan 2009, 21:44
95% of the assertions made about these two sets of rules are untrue. I repeat; 95%.

You must have been told a million times not to exaggerate.

Stockpicker
27th Jan 2009, 21:54
Well done DX for slaying the monster, but I did just want to mention my reaction when I saw this:

The UK has an obligation to meet recycling targets within a fixed time period.

Local councils have a variety of ways to achieve those targets.

At the end of the day, it's about money - either credits for complying or landfill cash minus fines for not complying.

If you have to deliver a certain quantity of cardboard for recycling would you a) invest large sums in brightly coloured boxes in different hues, complex domestic collection arrangements and expensive contracts to service providers, or b) put the onus onto local business to give back as much as possible of the cardboard before it gets to the expensive-to-process end user?

I've even heard that waste companies will send their trucks hundreds of miles to a landfill site in another county rather than try to meet local standards. Go figure. :*

Captain Stable
28th Jan 2009, 07:19
Stockpicker, I think you may have hit the nail on the head re councils' attitudes towards recycling, and the targets they need to meet.

Recycling is a means to ensure minimisation of waste going to landfill. It is not about generating material for recycling. Reusing packaging is a much more environmentally-friendly process than collecting boxes, recycling them, and then issuing bags and other boxes to replace the material that has been recycled.

Too many local officials and representatives think the target is to raise levels of recycling. What would be far more effective in protecting the environment would be a massive reduction in plastics and cardboard used in spurious, unneccesary packaging. But nobody has set any targets there, so officials have nothing to enforce.