I live in area where new bin rules mean thousands aren’t being collected – it’s a game of chance

webnexttech | I live in area where new bin rules mean thousands aren't being collected - it's a game of chance

Over the last few weeks it’s been a case of will the recycling bin be emptied or won’t it. That’s because where I live recent changes mean there are tough new rules around recycling collections. If the rubbish inside doesn’t meet the expected standards – i.e it shouldn’t be recycled – then bins will be left unemptied at the side of roads. Tags are fitted to them explaining what has been done wrong and how it needs to be rectified in order to be collected at the next round in a fortnight’s time. ‘Offenders’ are left with the rubbish until then, unless they want to take it to the tip themselves. Regardless of whether you think this is harsh or fair, this is currently what the good folk of Wolverhampton are dealing with and it’s an adjustment some are taking a while to get used to, with over 20,000 bins (nearly one in 10) having been refused over the last few weeks. READ MORE: I went out with police and saw one driver argue with officers and another break law he didn’t know existed Join our Black Country News WhatsApp community here Cue some confused faces when weary residents emerge from their homes to bring in the bins. The city council essentially says it’s costing too much for their teams to pick out the rubbish which can’t be recycled – so residents must get it right every time. You can read more about it here. They hope those who aren’t getting it right will quickly get the message. There are details on the tags about what is acceptable for recycled, as well as online for anyone who is unsure. It’s easy to dismiss people who get it wrong as daft (or something more unkind) but let’s just say from the off that working out what can and can’t be recycled can be difficult to work out at times. Mistakes can easily be made. Is this tin of beans ok? (after being swilled about five times). What about this washing up liquid bottle? Its plastic cap (almost impossible to unscrew without slashing your hand, by the way) looks a bit suspect. This jar lid? No idea. And if there’s food residue that is impossible to wash off then forget it. A Coke bottle is definitely fine, I’m confident about that one. But I’ve never really given much thought to the it’s-not-quite-paper-not-quite-plastic label. It just gets bunged into the recycling, doesn’t it? This is the point of these new rules, you’re second guessing even more than usual. You’re left to hope when the bins go out on Tuesday night you haven’t made a rubbish mistake, in more ways than one. Lifting the lid the next day almost becomes a game of chance. This is where the recycling lords and green experts among us would pipe up and say check the label. Which is true. Most of the time it will say somewhere on the label, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief, but it’s not always clear and finding it is not always easy. The thing with recycling is it’s something we can all easily do to make us feel like we’re contributing to saving the planet. We generally do our best with it, take the time to clean out items and remove offending caps. It perhaps makes us feel better when we start up the diesel Range Rover to take the kids to school instead of walking them 10 minutes down the road. There’s sympathy with the council and the challenges and costs it faces in righting our wrongs and there is no easy answer, but the risk with toughening rules to this extent is more people think ‘sod it’ and dump everything in general waste instead. As for the question posed at the start of this, whether I had got it right, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I have – so far. It’s almost become like sport as I open the garden gate praying not to see a tag attached to the bin. (I’m currently three nil up on the council). Phew, safe for another two weeks at least. I might allow myself a little fist pump next time. One of life’s mundanities suddenly became a bit more interesting. Where’s my gold star? Or should that be green?

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