Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Friday morning recycling rant

This weekend, and next week, my house-mates and I will have friends staying over, and consequently I spent a couple of hours last night tidying up.
Amongst the rubbish that we’d accumulated, there were a number of plastic bottles. Though we do have a monthly doorstep recycling collection from Bradford Council, this is only for paper, glass and cans – not plastics. Thankfully, I work for an organisation with a commitment to recycling and sustainability, so I bagged the bottles up and brought them with me to work this morning to recycle then, rather than having them dumped on a landfill site with the rest of our household waste. I also brought in a few dead non-rechargeable batteries as we have recycling bins for those too.
So, this morning, when putting these empty plastic bottles in the plastics recycling box, someone stops me and accuses me of trying to inflate my organisation’s recycling figures, by bringing waste from home.
Obviously anywhere that has a recycling rate of almost 70% has the right to brag about it, and it’s quite possible that the reason that this is so high is because some people are bringing waste from home which otherwise could not be easily recyclable. But I think it’s a bit rich to assume that the only reason that people bring in their own rubbish is to increase the figures. Had I not brought those bottles and batteries in, they would have ended up taking yet more space on a landfill site. The batteries in particular contain harmful chemicals and you are not supposed to put those in landfill at all (although I’m sure many of us do just chuck them in the bin when they die).
So the next time you see me walking in with a couple of bags of plastic bottles, it’s because I’m doing my bit for the environment, and not because of some statistics. Okay?


  1. Is it just Bradford where you can’t recycle plastic or is it all of the UK?
    We can recycle most stuff in our municipality.
    Though when I travel to Michigan I’m always put off by the complete lack of recycling anywhere. Thank you Michigan for contributing to the amount of waste in on our planet.

  2. There are municipal recycling facilities for most waste but it means travelling to a household waste site, neither of which are close by. Whereas every household in Bradford has 2 bins – one which you put glass, cans and paper in for recycling, which is collected monthly, and one for all other waste.
    In York where my parents live, the doorstep collections will also recycle cardboard, plastics and green waste (i.e. grass cuttings and anything compostable). Their collections are on alternate weeks – one week the council will collect general rubbish, the next they will collect recycling. But as at least half of most household’s rubbish can be recycled that’s not a bad thing.

  3. Out of interest, was this guy some sort of bin inspector or something? Sounds a bit weird that someone should be watching you put rubbish in a bin 😛 Either that, or just really bad timing.

  4. Nah, think he was a student.

  5. A student? With too much time on his hands? Never! 😛