A couple of years ago I blogged about our blue bin, the one where we put our recyclable waste. At the time I noticed that it was full, a rare occurrence and, I am ashamed to say, one that happens mostly after the orgy of purchasing that is a modern Christmas.
This week though I noticed something else. Our grey bin wasn’t full. This is the one in which we put our general waste and I remember it because, once again, it was not a normal event. It gets collected every two weeks and I have always had to push the last bag down to close the lid. Sometimes I have had to get out the ladder, climb up and stand on the rubbish to squash it down. At such times the bin has been too heavy to move and I have worried whether the lorry would be able to lift it.
It is shameful. It is a mark of how wasteful a society we have become. This is not only my problem, it is global in nature. Apparently we throw away enough waste to fill a line of garbage trucks to stretch from one side of the United States of America, every day. EVERY DAY!!!
In 2016, the UK generated 221.0 million tonnes of total waste, so much that we have nowhere to put it. By 2018 we were exporting 7.2 million tonnes a year to other countries to deal with, much of which was just dumped. In the first seven months of 2020, the UK sent 64,786 tonnes of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, the equivalent of more than 300 tonnes a day.
I’d like to think that my grey bin wasn’t full on the back of something we have done, a concerted effort to reduce waste, though I suspect it’s more to do with lockdown and that we are not buying so much. The horrendous figures show we must all do something to try and reduce, if not eliminate what we throw away.
Our aim should be to have nothing in the grey bin.