Our blue bin was full this week. That’s the one we put all of the recyclable stuff in and, I am ashamed to say it is normally only a third full whilst our grey bin, for other waste, is stuffed to the top when the refuse collection comes around.
This means then that we throw out at least three times as much non-recyclable material as we do recyclable. It may even be a worse rating than this as I usually have to squash the contents of the grey bin yet never have to do the same with the blue.
This is a sorry state of affairs, or is it? I am measuring the success of our household recycling efforts by the quantity of recyclable material in the bin, while the real objective should be to reduce the amount of waste overall.
If we were able to move the contents of the grey to the blue, by recycling more, than that would be great but would not solve the problem of the amount we throw away. It merely kicks the can from one problem to another.
There are two problems in play then. The first is that there is not enough packaging and waste we buy that can be recycled. I find it confusing as to what can go into the blue bin and yet consider myself as a reasonably intelligent person. There are many things, such as plastic pots that have a recycling logo on them which our local authority will not accept. There is not an effective market in recyclables.
The second problem, however dwarfs the first and that is there is simply too much waste involved. Everything we buy comes with packaging, most of which is grey bin material. This is the place that our focus should be made. We need to buy fewer things that are overly packaged.
Packaging in product manufacture needs to be reduced or removed. What is necessary must be recyclable.
My aim now is not to fill the blue wheelie bin but rather to not fill the grey one. It’s funny what you think about when you put the bins out.