Recycling? My arse

OK, time to get on my soap box about this emotive subject. Not the sort where a neighbour gives you an old wardrobe, or someone drops off some cartons to help you with moving house. No, the big story, Council Recycling, on an industrial scale. We all know it’s rubbish don’t we? And the pun is intended. Never before have I ever witnessed a con trick and smokescreen played out on such an unimaginable scale. Brainwashing, conscience-salving, complete and utter nonsense. Before all the Greens and planet-savers head off to Beetley to lynch me from my protected oak, consider this.

When Julie had a house in Hertfordshire, before we sold up and moved here, her local council had a very progressive policy on recycling. They issued a small wheelie bin, for food and garden rubbish only. Alongside this, were three large plastic boxes, all with lids. One was for paper only, another for plastic items and bottles, and the last one for cans and glass. They were very strict. If you put stuff in the wrong box, it was not emptied; get it wrong often enough, and you got an advice letter. One day, we happened to be around when the truck came. It was a specially converted flatbed van, with a high cage all round. It made its way around the square, finally reaching Julie’s house. The men came over, and collected the three boxes, making sure to pick up each one separately. Returning to the van, they just threw the contents of each box in together, adding to the jumbled pile of stuff already collected from the other houses. It was a miracle that they were able to stifle their hoots of laughter, as they drove away.

Richmond Council, West London. They were enforcing a strict policy on waste paper collection, as well as other recycling issues. A reporter from the TV news travelled to China. Hundreds of miles from Beijing, near the south coast of that country, he found a huge pile of ‘recycled’ paper rubbish from the UK. Picking up a sheet of paper from the top, he discovered a bank statement from a house in Richmond. He took it back to the house in that area, where the owner confirmed that it was his, and that he had put it into a waste paper recycling bag, some weeks earlier. So, to make the planet greener, Richmond Council send the waste paper by boat along the Thames to the coast, where it is put into a container, then loaded onto a large ship, to make the journey of 5,800 miles by sea to China. There, it is put onto a truck, and driven a hundred more miles to a remote industrial area, that probably used to be farmland, so it can be burnt, out in the open, by Chinese workers on a starvation wage. It would have been greener to just set fire to the bin outside the house in London.

China again. The story of a plastic bottle, discarded in East London. Once more, followed along a river route to the sea, into a container, thousands of miles on a larger ship, then delivered to former agricultural workers in a remote part of China. Their job is to melt the plastic by hand, using blow-lamps and small fires. They pour the melting substance into small moulds, each about the size of a bar of chocolate. They do this squatting on the ground, for up to sixteen hours a day, for less than $1US per day. When the plastic has cooled, the moulds are knocked out, and the plastic bars stacked into boxes. Then – yes you’ve guessed it – these bars of melted goo are re-exported back to Europe, so that they can be used in the manufacture of more plastic bottles, which are later discarded everywhere, to allow the process to begin all over again.

This is not recycling, it is simple economics, and the use of cheap, near slave labour. What happened to paper bags, and returnable, strong glass bottles? They worked well for hundreds of years, but the truth is, that it is just cheaper to ‘recycle’. Don’t always believe what you are told; they will piss in your face, and tell you it is raining. Eventually, you will just say ‘thanks for letting me know’.

Make sure you look out for my forthcoming post on ‘energy saving’ light bulbs, and light pollution. It’s a cracker!

8 thoughts on “Recycling? My arse

  1. On the button with this, as long as we can tick all the boxes for Brussels then it doesn’t matter what we do with the rubbish, as long as our quota is reached on paper.
    And when the wages go up in China then we will send it to Africa; I suppose it keeps the world economy going!


  2. Nice piece as usual Pete and how true the content of it. Many years ago I used to take the ‘hard’ bottles back to the retailer and got a penny back for my troubles! I look forward to your “forthcoming” post on energy saving and so on.


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