Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
19 December 2016, 12:58
Putting things in bins is confusing. We know this because the Department of Food, Environment and Health's figures show the amount of household waste being recycled by British families has fallen for the first time.
That does not mean we are creating less waste. Nor does it indicate that we are diligently re-using everything that would ordinarily have been thrown away. It just means that we can't understand what to do with it.
We are putting fewer things in the recycling because, apparently, we are confused about what goes in which bin.
Come on people, it's easy - bottles and tins go in the green bin, paper and plastic in the blue one, food in the wheelie bin and...wait...bottles and paper in the blue bin, food and plastic in the green bin...no, that's not right...um...can we just chuck everything away in the gutter down the road?
Seriously though, are we supposed to believe that people are confused about how to clean and separate rubbish? It's not confusion, it's laziness.
It is part of that "it's my right I can do what I want" phenomenon.
Unfortunately for those of us that do make an effort, Britons not sorting their stuff correctly means tonnes of waste is rejected by recycling units. Last year UK recycling fell for the first time since 2000.
Recycling stations are now rejecting around 15% of recycled waste, up from around 5% five years ago, and all because stupid people can't be bothered to put the right rubbish in the right bins.
If Britain's efforts do not improve, the UK could be at risk of a damn good thrashing from the EU as we will miss European Union targets to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.
It is a good job we will shortly have our country back so that we can stew in a mouldering soup of our own detritus, without anyone telling us to clean up after ourselves.
Mind you, recycling half of our waste is a hard target to achieve, unless you are Swedish.
The Swedish are so successful at recycling that they need to import rubbish from other countries just to keep their recycling centres working.
The Swedish sent less that 1% of their household waste to landfill this year, and last year and the year before that, and the year before that.
And it's not because their recycling bins are so well labelled, its because they actually care about the environment, whereas we see the environment as somewhere to throw our Styrofoam burger boxes.
Swedish people...always so bloomin' perfect. They care for their surroundings, they care for each other, they're happy AND they get to have a lot of six foot blonde Swedish sex with each other.
What should happen is that the polluter pays for the cost of recycling. If something comes with a lot of packaging, the manufacturer should pay more in taxes and they will add that cost to the product and people will buy them less, so they will then use less packaging.
But they will make less money in the short term, so it won't happen because multi-nationals will spend thousands of pounds lobbying the government to stop it enacting such a proposal, so that they can make millions selling us a lot extra paper and plastic we don't need.
Experts produced a report that said that it is all because people are not being educated about how to recycle, and that they feel "increasingly disconnected from it."
I am usually all for attending to the reports of those in the know, but in this case, experts can stick it in their brown bin.