We have recycling bins, a brown one for garden waste, another one for household rubbish, then we have a blue box (with a lid – you can’t risk being without one in this windy zone). There is also a squeaky clean recycling centre a few miles out of town.

There’s a charge for home collections. £15 for the first item, £30 for two, not sure how much it steps up to from there. A two or three-piece suite counts as one item, as you are expected to have chairs with a sofa.

The waste collection service, do not want cardboard. They want paper but not envelopes. :-/

Cans and paper are put in the blue box. it’s never been made clear whether that’s together, or cans every alternate week when paper is not collected. Plastic is supposed to go elsewhere, however, shreddings from shredders must be secured in a bag (usually plastic) before placing in the box. Some people have acquired two blue boxes. I wonder what I may conclude from that? There are a variety of possibilities.



  1. I find it amusing that with all the fuss on recycling, we get given four bins by the council – made of plastic no less! That’s not eco friendly is it? And then we have two collections a week (Double the diesel, double the carbon).
    Recycling is just another red tape exercise!

  2. The pickiness of it all puzzles me – no stapled magazines, no cardboard, blah blah. Yet here they proudly announced that they have this facility for throwing all the rubbish in the air and somehow sorting it at the tip! So why put it in boxes?

  3. Councils are not really interested in recycling, as such. They merely have an interest in collecting items that they can sell on at a profit, and in sufficient quantity that they comply with the government requirement for a certain percentage recycled. If the rubbish sorting costs exceed the second-hand value of the result they’re not interested, unless they’re short on the gov. imposed target. I think there is also a fine for excess dumping in landfill, which they want to avoid.

    The value of such reclaimed goods varies according to the market, at present it’s very low because of the recession.

    Labour costs and the amount of capital investment in mechanisation effect what they can profitably relaim and success largely relies on the cooperation of the pulic. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be able to publicise the reuirements in any intelligent way and it varies from place to place depending on local facilities, hence the confusion! 😦

  4. You have to be so careful what you put in must be right bin and if you dont you get a letter from the council warning you it happened to us not long ago made us feel awful like we had committed treason for goodness sake !!!

  5. We are fortunate to have a fairly easy going ( not cleaning everything to the nth degree) and broad.
    In blue bins they now take yoghurt pots/ plastics apart from bags and tetrapak cartons. In the brown it is shredded paper, carboard, garden and kitchen waste, even some soil. A blue bag is provided for paper waste and they take everything including telephone books. Brown envelopes go in the brown bin. It is collected every other week.
    We are trying hard to compost a lot of stuff from our house or recycle it before it gets to the bin though and trying to buy stuff in reduced or no packaging. Easter eggs were a good example. Bought in boxes without plastic. A bit limiting but ok.

  6. Thank your lucky stars you are getting regular collections. Some places have been reduced to the point of health and safety concerns.

    There are many badly thought out actions – most of them involve reducing the eco-friendly affect.

  7. We understand that envelopes are unwanted because of the glue on the seams and the plastic address windows. Plastic bags used for placing in shredded material, which cuts the cost of street cleaning should a gale blow the shreddings to high heaven, are o.k.

    Cardboard, I have no idea about, it is after all biodegradable. It must be a landfill quotas issue. Yet, we are not supposed to have fires, till officially sanctioned with festivals or traditions. Safety first always in mind, of course.

    Harrow council in NW London have taken task to another level, it has become onerous on the public who are at risk of embarrassment, with ‘wardens’ (probably paid on an offender basis) emptying incorrectly sorted rubbish onto pathways. There are regular inspections of bins and the right bags must be purchased – at a high price – and used, and one too many aberrations and you have fines slapped upon the household, for which you will be chased. It sounds fascistic behaviour. I do not know of any other London area borough managing household waste in this way.

  8. Sounds like Harrow Council.

    I’d probably get a life sentence in your area!

    We used to have to make sure lids closed; our bins were only suitable for a couple or three household. A family of four had real difficulties. A larger capacity bin was made available.

  9. I had to think about tetra paks. Our milk is in something similar as are the juices. They go in the bin. We have few plastic bottles and I chuck those in as well. If not, it would be a trudge to another part of town.

    The banks were moved from the centre as there was some abuse of them and being near a food store, vermin were attracted.

  10. A lot of these stories are urban myths, although some authorities are very strict. In some areas it’s the only way they can get it done at all, the general public being so slovenly.

  11. No, this one isn’t an urban myth Munzley. I saw what was happening in Harrow and the fearful effect it was having on people. I can honestly say, that if I thought of moving in the direction of the metropolis, I would not be looking at moving anywhere near Harrow, or within its environs.

  12. In the FAQ on the Harrow website here is a note about window envelopes:

    Q: Must I remove plastic windows from envelopes going into the Blue Bin?

    A: Plastic windows in envelopes are acceptable, but removing them does help the recycling process.

  13. I don’t need to, I don’t live anywhere near there. I have, however, recently seen what is expected and how people are affected by the ‘policing’ methods.

    However, as you kindly suggest to look at the sweet advice and propaganda of the borough, I shall give it a twirl.

  14. I love the word in italics….compulsory.

    There are at least three bins to buy for use in the home too, if domestic hygiene is to be maintained. This I saw too. You cannot use any biodegradable bag, it has to have the borough’s name on it, even though you can prove provenance, that is your own bought bags, cheaper than you the home dweller pay the council for theirs, have come from the same supplier.

    The site doesn’t tell you on their site their style and level of surveillance activities.

  15. The envelope issue applies to where I live, not Harrow. Our authority does not want envelopes. If they are large enough, I tear off the flaps, the glued edges and the windows and the remaining acceptable paper goes in the paper collection.

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