Recycling? My arse

This is the first in a series of re-posts of older articles and blog posts. I have gone back over three years, to a time when many of my current readers and followers did not know about me. I understand that few want to trawl through archives to look at old stuff, so I thought that I would re-visit some of the posts that I enjoyed writing some years ago. I apologise in advance to all of you who have seen them and commented before. And I also apologise for what some might consider to be unsuitable language at times.

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!


21 thoughts on “Recycling? My arse

    1. Thanks, Lloyd. I have concerns that it is all a sham, and one day will be exposed as a 21st century ‘con trick’. As I have no children, I don’t worry too much about the future of the planet, to be completely honest…
      Regards, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I remember those ugly news about Canada’s waste, tons of it wrongly declared as usual.I think they are still at our ports and on one doing anything about it. For a while it was news…so sad! some people are not really concerned about the environment.

    For several years now, plastic use has been banned in our department stores and supermarkets. Either use your own recyclable cloth bag or cartoon boxes from the grocery stores.


    1. The best they have done here, is to raise a tax of 5 pence (not much at all) on bags sold by supermarkets. It isn’t enough to make people stop buying them though.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Now you have depressed me. I carefully separate my glass, paper, cardboard, brown envelopes, into the relevant bags and put it out each fortnight. I have often thought that it probably all ends up in one humongous bin somewhere. I never thought it would end up in China!! What?


    1. For accuracy, I should make it clear that the paper feature was about Richmond Council in south London. The plastic bottles were sent by a company that collected them from all over the place. I don’t know if everywhere adopts the same policy. Some councils in London use landfill sites in Essex, and Norfolk sends most waste to huge incinerators. But it’s nothing like they show in the leaflets, Jude. You can be sure of that.


      1. Still depressing… you have to wonder why we bother. One good thing about having a septic tank is that I no longer use many chemicals in the house. Steam cleaning works a treat with only a small amount of water.


  3. This is totally irrelevant, but I’m going to tell you the story anyway.

    We have two trash days; one of them is Friday. The garbage truck comes early, so I have to put the trash can out Thursday night. Last Friday morning, I heard the telltale stop-and-go grumbling sound of the big truck on my street, and realized I’d forgotten to put the trash out the night before. I didn’t want to wait until the following Tuesday because we’d had fish, and, in any event, the can was overflowing. I peeked out the window, and saw that everyone’s trash can had been emptied. I caught a glimpse of the truck as it rounded the corner on its way out of the neighborhood. I’d just gotten up, so I threw on a shirt, ran to the garage, grabbed the trash can, threw it in the back of the truck, and gave chase. On a hunch, I drove to the neighborhood just south of ours, looking down each street I crossed, and then decided to loop back on a parallel street which, going in the opposite direction, ends in a cul-de-sac. And there it was—maneuvering its way out of the cul-de-sac! Since when was the garbage truck blue? It didn’t matter. Things change. For example, the mail delivery vehicles in our area had just been changed to cargo vans, much to the chagrin of our mailman. Anyway, I jumped out of my truck, shirt unbuttoned, and waved down the driver, running all the while in my bare feet, taking care not to be pulverized by the monster that I’d cornered. I shouted up at the driver, and asked him if he could take my trash. And he said, “We only take recycling!” What?! It turns out that Republic Services is now sending its recycling trucks to our part of town. That explained the blue color. So I had to take the trash can back home and put it back in the garage—and wait until Tuesday!


    1. That’s a great story, David. You are at least lucky to have a truck, so you could attempt this in the first place. In Beetley, we only get a weekly collection. One week is household waste, the next recycling. So if we miss a week, we have to wait for fourteen days until the next one of that kind. We do at least have large plastic ‘wheelie bins’, and they hold quite a lot.
      Best wishes, Pete.


      1. In case you’re wondering, the garbage truck had come earlier in the morning, which explains all the empty trash cans in the neighborhood. I do think we’re lucky to have two collections a week. And, by the way, the Apex Landfill “…isn’t just the nation’s biggest landfill. It’s also one of the first designed under environmental regulations that took effect in the early 1990s. It is in the vanguard of industry change.” When I first became aware of this distinction, I didn’t really understand why Las Vegas, with just two million inhabitants, would generate more trash than the larger cities. I still don’t, but maybe it has to do with the casino industry.


    1. I am surrounded by houses that have roofs festooned with those ugly panels. The owners seem to be convinced that it saves money, but they seem to forget about the twenty years it will take to recoup the installation costs.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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