Britain the dustbin of Europe

I caught this item on the BBC news yesterday, with reference also to the LGA press release. Apparently us Brits are pretty laggardly when it comes to recycling our rubbish, as the following statistics on countries with the highest amount of rubbish thrown into landfill sites reveal:

• The UK dumps around 27million tonnes
• Italy dumps around 20million tonnes
• Spain dumps around 17million tonnes
• France dumps around 13million tonnes
• Germany dumps around 10million tonnes

And apparently we will run out of landfill sites in 2017.  Councils, and consequently the taxpayer, are facing fines of up to £150
per tonne of rubbish that is sent to be dumped into landfill sites.
According to the National Audit Office, fines of up to £200million
could hit taxpayers for the failure to cut the amount that is thrown in

The proposal is for councils to start charging for the amount we throw away  – not an unreasonable approach in the circumstances. However, I’m not quite sure if all the consequences of this policy have been full thought through. For example, will we see start to see fly tippers advertising their services in Yellow Pages ("We can dump your household waste 20% cheaper than your council….no questions asked!"). And I wonder how many people will start to take their rubbish out at around midnight. with a judicious allocation being given to neighbours’ bins that  have been a bit more diligent with their own recycling?  Apart from which, shouldn’t the producers of all this excess packaging (especially for foods) be  brought to account? Who asked for all this triple-packaging and over-sized boxes that are only half filled?

Interestingly, we are perfectly within our rights to remove excess packaging at the point of sale. So, the next time you are at the supermarket, instead of mindlessly packing away all your items into your carrier bags, remove all the fancy polythene, cardboard and plastic packaging from your food and other goods, and leave the problem with the supermarket. After all, they’re likely to have more influence on the suppliers than you or I.  I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has tried this.
In the mean time, I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more about this issue, and one thing you can be sure about….it’s going to cost us mortal tax payers more than what we’re paying now in rates and taxes.

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