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Saturday, 17 March 2012


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My personal favourite is the 'recycling' my local council has enforced with regards to all electrical equipment (I know it's EU mandated but isn't it amazing the variations throughout Britain let alone Europe?).

I, whilst between posts some years ago, worked as an agency rubbish collector (sorry I'm PC disabled [otherwise known as old] so I don't know what the correct term is - or want to. Yes that's what we called ourselves and I believe I still hold the record for the most over-qualified one too). As such I can compare and contrast.

It used to be that a substantial amount of such equipment was still repairable so it was separated out by the entrepreneurial operators, fixed, and sold to the local pawn shop as a 'perk of the job'. Others were taken by visiting members of the public as spares or to repair. The result? There wasn't that much that needed disposing of.

Now, it is all collected in a large skip, emptied daily, in a secure compound (in case a rogue broken toaster attacks a passer-by?). No one, staff or public, is allowed to take any as it has all been sold by contract. It is then sent to either India or China where it is recycled (ie. piled in large rotting heaps which are picked over by street kids, stripped with acids to reclaim the precious metals, etc. all irrespective of any environmental impact - but hey, it isn't in our back yards is it?).

Because I'm such a cynic I looked at who gained from this change. The greens, of course, felt morally superior and powerful. The council got some extra cash. The unions because now there are more members all employed planning and organising 'green this and that'. Where all the money supposedly saved and generated goes is anyones guess, but it certainly doesn't go on refuse collection.

The recycled rubbish is collected fortnightly now by a wagon with driver and twelve collectors. The rest of the rubbish (still the majority since only a tiny fraction is deemed recyclable by our betters)? It used to be standard for a wagon, driver and minimum three collectors (all of whom could barely walk at the end of a shift), now it's one collector because they can't afford to employ the staff. They do, apparently have the money to pay for fourteen in the office (where it used to be one and a secretary), as well as a team visiting bins to check what's in them (and say they can't collect it without an additional charge) and setting fines (for putting the rubbish in the wrong coloured bin even though it is all tipped into the same truck) or (of course) on a recycling truck which makes some councillor a bit of pocket money).

So we've gone from a rather unglamorous but necessary service simply doing the job every week without fail to a service which costs ten times as much, employs ten times as many people with snazzy new uniforms (high viz), but doesn't actually do what is there for.

Why is that Brazil (the film) seems more and more prophetic as time goes by?

"an agency rubbish collector"

I'm even older, Able, so I still call them 'dustmen'.

Ah, yes, our "wonderful" recycling programme.

Instead of chucking everything in the bin and letting the rubbish company employ someone to sort it out, if thats the kind of thing that turns them on, we nown have three bins for glass alone. White, Brown and green. Because there are three bins, one of each colour, they now need three sperate bin wagons trundling arouns, spewing all kinds of shite into the air, to collect them.

They are then taken to a desposal site, where all the wagons empty out into the SAME silo. Where someone is employed to.....sort the glass into the "correct" colours!

All in the name of "being green" of course.

Most plastic bottles for "gassed" drinks, have a 15 cent or a 25 cent deposit. So. All the super markets were forced to buy these "collection machines", which take your bottle and give you a reciept, which you "cash" at the till point. How many extra trees they use to make the reciept paper,is, I believe, a state secret.

The bottles are then collected by a wagon, trundling arouns, spewing all kinds of shite into the air. These bottles are taken to the collection point where someone is employed to.....sort the bottles into the correct "groups".

The bottles are then taken away..... and (mostly) burned!

All in the name of "being green" of course.

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