Saturday, 6 December 2008

Things that don't fit...

There are a number of things I've quite wanted to put on the other blog but which have nothing to do with cycling. That's what this blog is for.

I'll start with this piece of paper which came through the door a few days ago.

This is the Afvalkalender or Waste Calendar for our area.

It tells us when to put out each of our three wheelie bins, the black bin for general waste, green bin for compostable waste and the blue bin for paper and cardboard. The green and black bins are collected every other week and the blue bin once a month.

There are a lot of initiatives here about waste disposal, and I've written them all up on a webpage.


Severin said...

What is the reason for trash being picked up on those intervals? I never noticed when trash was picked up when I lived in Malmo, Sweden as it was an apartment with shared trash bins but LA trash is picked up once a week, all three of the bins on the same day. (and on these days bike lanes are always converted to the "trash bins lanes"). Is it a cultural thing? Dutch in general just don't make that much waste as Americans?

Beech Tree said...

It is surely cheaper to collect things every two weeks (or every month for paper) than to collect everything every single week, so if that can be managed without causing too much of a build-up it is likely to be the best thing to do.

For an additional comparative perspective, in the three areas of the UK where I've lived in the last few years, all recycling was collected in one go every two weeks, and residual waste was every week. There have been arguments in parts of the country that have tried to move from something like this model to an alternating system whereby your collections are on the same day of the week, but alternate between recycling and everything else from week to week.

The complainants (strongly backed by the right-wing tabloid press like the Daily Mail, who are even more fervent in their opposition to charging people based on how much waste they produce) tend to be concerned with smells and infestations of insects, or that rats and gulls will be supposedly be attracted by leaving things lying around for up to two weeks. If people are careful to seal everything up properly and keep their surroundings tidy this need not be a problem, and it's even less of one if they try to limit the waste they produce. I have seen 'pest control' operations (euphemistic name for killing animals for people's convenience and aesthetic preferences, when these people are mainly responsible for their presence in the first place) putting down rat traps while discarded food lies strewn all around, making no effort to clear it up before brining out the poison. The idea that prevention is better than cure has not reached some people, and this has had the effect of maintaining weekly collections over most of the UK.

I suggested to two candidates in local elections who knocked on my door about three years ago that we should move to fortnightly collections. They laughed and said people would never accept such a thing, and they would never get any votes that way. The Dutch seem to be coping.