Recycling, use a carrot, not a stick

Over the last few years the level of recycling has certainly increased, unfortunately alongside ever more controversy over the bullying from local councils. It seems that there is a perception that the only way to get people to recycle is by implementing ever more rules and laws and higher fines, innovation and latteral thinking don’t seem to be applicable to local councils.

Here’s a simple alternative, remember you read it here first.

All my waste is valuable. It can be used as biomass for energy production, metals and various plastics for recycling, food and garden waste for composting. Even the waste from my toilet is extracted at the sewage treatment works, sold to farmers and spread on fields – actually there is a shortage!

Realistically, the thing that makes all this watse valuable is sorting. The more sorted it is, the better and the higher the value (the council doesn’t have to sort it).

An indication of the value of this waste is that local clubs will make money from paper, though there has been a glut. I have frequent visits from ‘scrappies’,  “any scrap metal” old car batteries are also wanted. Actually I keep all my old cans and make an annual trip to the scrap yard and sell them.

So, where am I going with this?

Lets get over the rigid, boring, council recycling regime and turn the whole thing on its head and start buying peoples rubbish off them.

If there is enough money and organisation in council’s to manage chips in wheely bins and weighing, and fines and frightening little old ladies and all that goes with that, equally the same can be applied to checking, weighing and paying for recycled materials from the home owner.

How to ensure the recycled materials (no longer waste) are fit for recycling?  Simple, apply the sale of goods act, after all, I as a householder am selling this material, it is not being thrown away. I now have a real incentive to sort my waste and ensure it has a value.

Not only do I have an immediate and quantifiable benefit in that I get paid, but also that my council tax has the potential to go down. 

If I do it, so will my neighbours and who then can complain about an interfering council, there are no losers, lots of winners!

More Plymouth household waste is rejected for recycling

Government to rule out ‘pay as you throw’ waste charge

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