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Rubbish!

One topic which caught my eye over the past week or so was that Wrexham Council have decided to remove and not replace litter bins because ‘bins attract litter’. Apparently, the thinking behind this is that having a bin means that people will use it, or, it their estimation, overuse it. That is in fact a truth, you only have to look around any layby, anywhere where there is a standard bin, and you will also see piles of rubbish alongside what is usually an overflowing litter bin.

 

This is really the visible results of what is a growing problem, in spite of attempts by various authorities to solve it. It’s in no way a modern problem, ever since people gathered together and produced anything, there has always been the issue of disposing of by-products. However, given the massive increase in population across the globe, it’s now reached the stage where we are becoming overwhelmed with the disposable detritus of civilisation.

 

However, there is a constant blame shifting that is contributing to the massing mountains of rubbish we all generate. The action by Wrexham Council is a visible example of this, by blaming the public for dumping rubbish in a place where rubbish has initially been encouraged to be placed. Undoubtedly, there is a large element of laziness in place where the public are not disposing of rubbish in the way it should, but against this is the fact that the places to dispose rubbish in a proper manner are rapidly being reduced, with domestic bin collection schedules being extended, and household recycling centres usually being situated in places you need transport to get to. Given that, for example in Wrexham, there is high number of Houses of Mass Occupation (HMO’s), this usually goes hand in hand with a large number of the population not having cars. So how are they meant to dispose of extra household refuse? Basically, you are seeing the results, with overfull black refuse sacks lying in the streets, or like the foundations of a soon to come rubbish pyramid around the closest litter bin, in the forlorn hope of collection.

 

The solutions to me seem simple enough (most such issues do!). Firstly, reduce the amount of packaging used for products and reinstitute proper collection schedules. This is the easiest thing to do, but, because of cost, seems to have the most push back from manufacturers. They say it would force up the price of goods. That may be, but if you analyse this, that extra cost for better and reduced packaging would soon be recovered from the customers point of view by a reduction in the cost of cleaning up the mess this extraneous packing is causing. That would also free up funds to re-introduce the completely ineffective reduction in bin collections, which has been introduced under the banner of ‘recycling’ when in fact its just another way of cutting costs. If recycling was to be taken seriously, maybe the producers of packaging should be the first port of call, and fine them if they use excessive and non-recyclable materials. Rather than blame shift this to the general public, park it with the source of the issue.

 

That’s not to say the public are blameless. You only have to take a walk around the streets and local parks where you live, and you will see people just dropping rubbish with no thought about the mess they are creating. Basically, we’ve all become lazy, and expect others to clean up our mess. Well, the days of the street cleaner have, sadly, gone. Not so long ago, there was a gentleman who would be picking up the rubbish in the street outside my house, obviously taking pride in having a clean environment under his responsibility. And that cleanliness rubbed off, people where much more unlikely to drop rubbish if there was none evident around them. These days, the street cleaner is occasionally there, but usually pressganged in to doing the job as ‘community service’ and the lack of effort is there for all to see.

 

Unless we all, public, authorities, government take responsibility, filth will be come the norm. Do we want that to be our legacy? Then again, maybe if they actually emptied the bins…..

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