Thursday, 18 March 2010

For God's sake go... now!

Imagine that you’re a government trailing in the opinion polls and deeply unpopular. Now, what would you do? Be nice to the people or just carry on irritating them with bossy and unnecessary new laws with the constant threat of punishments and fines?

The latest bit of stupidity from the government’s Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is a proposal for new and complicated recycling laws that will require households to have up to five separate bins for their household waste. Placing a used teabag in the wrong bin could result in a £1000 fine. And if you don’t think it could happen, bear in mind that local councils up and down the country have been using emergency powers granted under the Terrorism Act to spy on householders and prosecute them for inappropriate handling of waste. Whatever happened to Britain’s treasured tolerance that the government is so fond of telling us about?

The new proposals are the ‘brainchild’ of environment secretary Hilary Benn (son of that old Socialist warhorse Tony Benn), who wants to banish all food, cans, paper and glass from landfill sites to increase recycling rates and slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Slop buckets, already used to collect food scraps in millions of homes, would be extended to the whole country, adding another bin to the three or four already parked in many gardens and drives.
Councils would be under greater pressure to enforce recycling rules, and to use fines to punish those who refuse to cut down on their waste. But even councils are warning that compulsory slop buckets would go down badly with the voters.

Gary Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said: “DEFRA must not create a situation where every householder in the country is forced to have a separate bin for their food waste. It must be up to councils, working with their residents, to find the best ways of cutting rubbish going to landfill.”

With only weeks to go until a General Election, the government is spewing new initiatives like a teenager after too many alcopops. Perhaps the ruling party genuinely believes it’s set to rule for the next 1000 years. Gordon’s Reich clearly doesn’t know when the game is up. Won’t someone pass the man a cyanide capsule and a pearl-handled revolver?


  1. Fingers crossed for a hung parliament!

  2. Anything that stops this torrent of laws would be welcome.

  3. But don't you see...if you have enough different coloured bins, the waste simply disappears into thin air. There is the small problem of more pollution from bin collecting, smog belching trucks,not to mention higher taxes for union workers etc...but it's a small price to pay in order for some mid level bureaucrat to justify his existence.

  4. I'm an idiot. I missed the point completely. Anyway, there's nothing wrong in keeping the population busy sorting through rubbish... it will be good practice for when we all have to scavenge on rubbish dumps if Mr Brown gets another five years with his hands on the levers. Besides, if the government tells you to sort through your rubbish or receive a fine, it's a good reminder of who's boss. Perhaps we can all start playing a game called "Gordon Says"!

  5. We already have two bins (green and general) and two crates (paper and bottles/tins) plus our own compost bin in the garden. Sometimes we even use another crate of our own as we are avid newspaper readers.
    What I would like is two new recycling crates as they are getting very mucky and one of them is cracked. Also, for the collectors not to leave them in the middle of the road, which sometimes happens. Can I sue the council if I get my finger stuck or my car scratched in the holy pursuit of recycling?


  6. It is already confusing enough for the pensioners with these different coloured bins, perhaps Herr Brown would like to line the pensioners against a wall and shoot them, that solves the problem of giving them heating allowance, and having to give them a measly rise in their pension, it will also solve the many beds they are taking in hospitals, plus the care homes.

    What if a lot of pensioners have a touch of dementia, get confused over the bins and have to face a fine ?

    What about partially sighted people , or blind people... bloody country has gone mad.


  7. I may have to delete your comment, Ness... it could give Obergruppenführer Brown ideas!

  8. Hi XTM!
    We use these bins all the time: one for organic waste, one for paper, one for waste that isn't collected anywhere else: these bins get emptied by the waste company regularly. And you also collect plastics that were originally used as wraps, shoppers, bottles and containers of every kind: they go into a yellow bag and get collected from your threshold regularly.
    Then there are some spots in town where there are collected these kinds of waste: clear glass, coloured glass, metal.
    Finally, leftovers of pharmaceuticals are taken back by the farmacies. Exhausted batteries are collected in supermarkets. Big items that don't fit into the bin are collected at the communal waste centre. Exhausted cooking fats are collected there as well.

    Best wishes from Styria!

  9. Hi Barbara

    We recycle nearly everything too... I think my issue is with the way our government is always bullying and punishing us. Instead of giving everyone these boxes and asking us to do our best, they give us boxes and say "we will fine and punish you if you make the smallest mistake". It's a question of attitude. In the UK we are the servants and the government is our master. :-(