So here we go with a blog posting about that most mundane of things. My bin collections.
I like to think of myself as quite green and generally I will enthusiastically support all efforts to recycle. I’ve lived for the last few years in Oxford and I watched the levels of recycling grow through good policy.
When I first arrived in Oxford we had loads of different bins and bags for recycling and composting. When you give people so many options they will invariably get confused and not bother. Add to that, that among us are people who just don’t get things. I remember well the conversation with a housemate, Rasha, where I asked why she put her banana skin in the bin and not the composter. She replied that it wasn’t green, it was yellow, so she couldn’t put it in the green waste bin.
Oxford City Council proposed fortnightly bin collections, to the disgust of the North Oxford Ladies, who are always available as a rent a gob on BBC Oxford. In exchange, the weeks between would be for recycling. Just one bin for everything. No need to sort stuff, with all the risk of getting it wrong taken away. Within weeks there was more recycling happening. Make it easy and people will do it. The North Oxford Ladies fell silent in their Range Rovers.
So to Lanarkshire, where I now live.
I moved into a flat. I fully expected that Lanarkshire would be similar to Oxford. I expected to recycle.
My neighbours told me that the bin collections were intermittent. I didn’t believe them. The councils website said that it was every 2 weeks. I didn’t even have a bin when I arrived. My neighbours told me that we didn’t have to recycle because we lived in flats and didn’t have the space for all the bins involved. I got a bin and my neighbours filled it for me.
On an aside, can someone tell me how difficult it is to crush plastic bottles? I found 15 2 litre Coke bottles in my bin a few weeks ago. Uncrushed. Filling the bin. Crushing stuff is somewhat satisfying. You should try it. Reduce that volume please.
There are 8 flats bins in our wee courtyard area. Pretty sure I’ve taken them all out for the binmen more than all my neighbours put together and a few weeks ago I put them all out for collection the following morning. I went off for a weekend near Loch Lomond. When I got back the bins had not been collected. I thought I’d got the week wrong. Friday came and went. Even if I got the week wrong I was now certain that they hadn’t been collected.
I checked the council website and found that we’d been moved to a Tuesday collection. We were due to be collected on the following Tuesday. Tuesday came and went. I emailed everything above, somewhat more concisely, to the council. They replied promising a collection.
The bins were collected.
Now the problem here as I see it twofold. Firstly, I received no communication about the changeover. I can cope with all sorts of things with forewarning. Secondly, if this doesn’t make the act of recycling easier, and thus boost the levels of recycling, then we will all have suffered for nothing.
So North Lanarkshire Council, please do me a favour and give me an easy recycling system that works. Take the effort away. And in the name of the wee man, please communicate with me.
A few days ago 6 recycling bins arrived. There was no communication with us about what they were for. As a result they’ve sat out on the grass outside the flats. They are killing the grass no doubt.
I went home for lunch today. Today was bin day. I’d even checked on the North Lanarkshire Council website. The bins hadn’t been collected. As I ate my lunch I heard the sounds of binmen and rushed out onto my balcony to talk to them. They hadn’t come to collect the bins. They’d come to collect recycling from the unused bins currently killing the grass.
I shouted down to them and was told that we shouldn’t have recycling bins anyway because we live in flats. They said the office staff were hiding under their desks as North Lanarkshire residents point out what a shambles the bin collections have been recently. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if my bins have been collected today. I’ll find out later.