Saturday, January 03, 2009

Recycling is wrong

Our council finally got its recycling strategy sorted out recently. This means that recycling is collected once a week instead of every other week and they now collect cardboard and food waste which they didn't do previously. I'm quite happy with this since it means I don't have to make regular trips to the tip anymore. Of course there have been some teething problems and I'm seriously bored of all the complaints from my neighbours. It's no wonder that Australians call us whinging poms...

But I do keep thinking there is something wrong with the whole concept of recycling. I buy a bottle of wine, drink it, then the bottle gets taken away and recycled and made into another bottle. But, but... How much energy is being used up in producing a bottle that is only used once? When I was a lad, we returned bottles to the shop (fizzy pop rather than wine in those days) and got back 2p for our bother. The bottle then got sent back to the fizzy drinks company who refilled it and sent it out again. In fact, go to India and many other 'less developed' countries today and you'll find the same thing. When you buy a drink, it comes in a scratched old bottle that has obviously been used several hundred times before. Isn't this the model we should be adopting? It seems a much better use of resources. The thing is the supply chain is already in place, all those bottles get delivered to the shops, so the same lorries could be used to return the empties back to their original source. What am I missing?


Easy Upgrades said...

These systems still exist - do you support them? Do you get milk in glass bottles that are cleaned and re-used? Or, do you go for the cheaper option of buying a plastic bottle of milk? Usually this comes with a doorstep service called a "milk man" (or woman). (They often drive electric vehicles too)

Recycling is not wrong, it should be the "third choice" and is better than the fourth choice - bury it in the ground.

1 Reduce, 2 Reuse, 3 Recycle

Doogal Bell said...

You're right, I was just being somewhat provocative with my title. As you say the recycling should be the third choice, but it seems to be emphasised as the solution to our problems, when in fact we should be concentrating on reducing consumption in general.

And of course I'm a hypocrite. We did have a milkman for a while but not only was it more expensive it was less convenient than going to the supermarket. If they sold milk in bottles at the supermarket I'd be much happier