Sunday, 10 October 2010

Recycling - what goes around, comes around

One of the most bizarre arrests of recent years was that of Wrecsam environmental activist Genny Bove back in 2008 for taking plastic chairs out of a council skip to re-use them. Re-use being the best way to reduce waste.
The case was covered briefly on this blog but Plaid councillors also raised the wider issue with officers after being elected. We argued that people should be able to take away unwanted goods from the council's skip sites and that a specific bay should be created for that use.
Two years ago, that argument was ruled unworkable due to health and safety grounds but it's interesting to note that such a policy has come to pass and that we now have a social enterprise called New 2 You taking unwanted goods from the council's own sites - except now it's with permission rather than getting arrested!
New 2 You has meant that 17 tonnes of goods have been re-used in the community rather than going to landfill - not only saving the council money by paying less Landfill Tax, but also in helping to provide affordable furniture for people.
Like the proverbial oil tanker, the council sometimes takes a long time to turn around. All the indications suggest that this is changing - let's hope so.


Cibwr said...

I used to work for a recycling and training charity in Cardiff. 10 years ago the directors went to the Netherlands and experienced the set up there. They went to a vast warehouse in Amsterdam where goods were stored and were made available to the public. At all public amenities sites there was a specific area where items were put that could be recycled. Certain goods - mainly electrical and the badly damaged were excluded for safety reasons.

I also experienced the culture of reuse and recycling there, when on a holiday I experienced one of the National Days. Queens Day is the official Queens birthday and the start of it is one huge car boot sale. In Amsterdam and elsewhere people set up trestle tables outside their homes and put all their unwanted goods on, these are then sold at a knock down price. Its an annual clear out of stuff.

From what I could see there was a culture of reuse and recycling. Perhaps we should emulate them and have a national clear out day with street sales and entertainment and a party atmosphere like Queens Day in the Netherlands?

Plaid Whitegate said...

Great idea - when we get St David's day as a national holiday perhaps...

Wolfie said...

When I lived in Berlin on one day a year people could put their unwanted furniture onto the street. Anyone could then take it If they had a use for it. Anything that was left the next day was collected by the Council. This was 30 years ago, mainland Europe seem to be years ahead.