Adding the ‘waste and recycling’ category last night reminded me of something – a couple of photos I took at the Council’s waste depot on a recent visit:
Plastic mountain
Plastic mountain

That’s a couple of shots of plastic waiting at the depot to be baled and then sent on to a processor. What I’m wondering is if any of you can guess how much of Colchester’s plastic recycling that represents?

Details: We currently collect plastics every fortnight at the same time as garden waste (the other week is a paper, card, glass and metals collection)and that picture was taken during a plastic collection week, so approximately how much of that week’s plastic collection do you think it is?

(And the use of the term mountain is appropriate, I think – this is big flat East Anglia, after all)

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As a lot of my Council work at the moment is dealing with issues relating to waste and recycling, I was naturally going to find this site interesting (discovered via http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/aug/05/korst-garbage-free). It’s the website of an American couple who are attempting to live for a year without throwing anything away to landfill – within reason, anyway, they have various common-sense exceptions from their rules.

Of course, given that they’re planning to write a book about their experience – and is there some law that when someone says ‘I shall write a book about the time I did X for Y’, Y must equal one year? – there’s an interesting discussion to be had about how much more waste might be produced in the making of a book than they might avoid creating in a year.

But, their project does raise interesting issues about how much avoidable waste we do create in a year, and just how much of what we put out as rubbish could either be recycled or not wasted in the first place. One thing I’ve noticed since making a real effort to avoid creating waste in the last few years is that many weeks the most weighty thing in the black sack we put out on a Monday morning (no, we don’t have wheelie bins here in Colchester) is discarded cat litter, so maybe there’ll come a time in the future when that’s all that landfills contain. Ah, I can dream.

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