Wasting Away

18 August 2017

Councillor Simon Bull, Bournemouth's only Green Party Councillor has written an article about household waste which was published  this week in the excellent online news service Dorset Eye, and copied below.

The new alternate weekly waste collections are certainly a local talking point. We now have general waste bins (little bin 140 litres) collected one week and the recycling (big bin 240 litres) collected the next. The food bins are collected every week and the garden waste bin fortnightly for those who pay an annual fee (currently £40 for one bin).

I find that my household of 4 adults and 2 children can manage with that provision as long as it is a regular month i.e. not Christmas or clearing out accumulated stuff. I know some people are struggling with it for a variety of reasons. I have noticed that there is an increase in fly-tipping not helped by reduced opening hours at the tip, sorry, recycling centre.

I compost at home and that helps to keep the food waste down and we have one of the newer, larger food bins that hold a bit more and tend not to disappear as much as the smaller ones.

My wife mentioned that when she was a child, growing up in Boscombe, there was one bin that the collectors would swing onto their backs and empty into the truck weekly. Thankfully for the operatives’ backs we now have wheelie bins, but how much more rubbish! Much of that is down to packaging which perhaps could be reduced if a packaging tax was introduced. I have heard that in Germany, the home of recycling, Aldi and Lidl provide recycling bins in store where people leave their pizza boxes and unnecessary wrapping and leave it to the store to dispose of. A kind of physical tax, making them responsible for the extra packaging.

How much plastic do we need around the item we actually wanted? There must be a limit on how much we can take from the earth, how many resources we can use and how much rubbish we can produce before we run out of resources, space or both. Much of it is down to a greater choice of things to buy and on average more spending power.

As I pointed out at a Bournemouth West husting for the last parliamentary election, being greener is not without inconvenience.

8 million tons of plastic contaminates our oceans. 16 million plastic bottles currently end up in UK landfill. Isn’t it time we stopped buying single use plastic bottles, plastic packaged plastic toys and plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables? Isn’t it time we took a stand and used our influence as consumers to demand more from the big retailers?

Cllr Simon Bull