5 February 2011

The Big Bin Question

It never fails to astonish me how the UK seems to have so many problems with rubbish and recycling.  Going back to when I lived in the UK, there were various recycling bins in odd council designated spots that never really inspired anyone but the dedicated to use them.  There was the option of the council tip for the serious rubbish chuckers and then there were dustbins or Oxfam.  I used to love my tin one with the special rubber lid to stop it flying off in gales but these became a thing of the past when the wheelie things came in. 

When I first lived in Malmesbury, the wonderful dustbinmen used to come round the back of our cottages and remove the bins and we also got free black bags.  That, of course, was the 80's.  Then we were told to buy our own bags and drag them round to the side of the cottages to the patch of grass and leave them out for the binmen.  Great if you remembered to do it the night before because they came early and sometimes you ended up with bags for a couple of weeks.  The fact the refuse from our five cottages and the houses close by, all dumped their bags on this piece of green, made it a target for cats, dogs and our local foxes.  Rubbish strewn everywhere - not pleasant in summer.  I once contacted the council to ask for a large, green wheelie bin so it would stop this problem.  I was informed, by a very serious lunatic, that it was asking for trouble.  It would be stolen by a passing youth who was suffering intoxication, or failing being stolen by a pisshead, it would be stolen for other nefarious uses - I kid you not!

I now understand from friends that you are lucky to have a fortnightly collection and get fines if you so much as overfill etc etc.  Then you read that recycling is a problem and not tackled correctly bla bla.  Why?  I fail to understand why the weekly collection was stopped - don't tell me cost.  It must cost far more the way it is tackled now and as for the boxes people have to have outside their front doors - what the hell do foreigners make of it.  I saw a street where the pavement seemed to be awash with ugly litter boxes (not feline) in the name of recyling.

This is an example of what we have here:

This shows two green, big wheelie bins for general rubbish that cannot be recyled.  Next to the green bins is garden refuse which is collected weekly.  The green bins are emptied every day except Saturday.  EVERY DAY.

The recycling bins.  Blue for paper and cardboard, yellow for plastics and green for bottles.  These are in a residential street.

This set of the larger variety is on the main road through Colares and on the other side of the road, are green bins.

Here are more big bins with the green bins next to them.

These are not isolated spots for bins or recycling.  You have no need to walk more than a few minutes to find either recyling bins or green bins for your waste.  I live in a rural setting.  There is a green bin at the bottom of the lane opposite the entrance to our lane, there is one to the right past the bus stop.  There are recycling bins all along the main road into Colares at set intervals.  Everyone recycles here - it is as natural as drinking coffee.

We have our own recycling bins on the patio which we empty the minute they are full - very simple, stick in car, drive to bins on way out for shopping or whatever, offload - in the words of Alexander the Meerkat - simples.  Large items for disposal are removed, after contacting the council, by a special service and costs you nothing.  Glenn told me that you have to pay to have things taken away by councils in the UK now. 

The Portuguese have the reputation for the best recycling in Europe - isn't that interesting - a small country with limited funds and resources but can show the UK how it should be done!

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