The cycle of waste

I can count myself lucky that I do not have one of those fancy double counting water meters, that do not only meter the incoming but also measure the outgoing water. Why, is that? It is because I am wondering whether it is worth recycling cans and jars that take a lot of water and effort to clean prior to recycling.

Would we not do more damage to the environment by too much water usage or would we do more damage to the environment by not recycling metal cans and glass jars?

I went to bring some old metal to the scrap metal dealer and ended up with some money in my pocket but when I have to clean out old cans and put them into the recycling, it costs me money and I do not even get a discount for recycling when I purchase a new product to replace the old one.

Especially products like peanut butter or chocolate jars, and even cans of beans, take a longish while to clean before the containers are fit for the recycling container. So is it worth it for me to heat water to loosen up the fatty peanut butter, so that I can scrape out the jar and clean it?

It costs me electricity, water and detergent to do so, not to mention the time spent doing it.  I am almost certain that many busy working people rather bin a can than find the time to clean it.

Yet my local scrap dealer was only too happy to give me cash for metal. I wonder whether it is not cheaper to crush up and collect old tins to bring them to the scrap metal merchant, who does not need clean metal to process it.

Just when I am in the mood to moan about the waste, I had to remove food from containers to compact them or they would have taken too much space in my freezer. Why pack food items in containers that are 3 times too big in the first place?

What would be a really good idea in my view, is the recycling of old furniture and especially those wood-chip, flat-pack buried, icons of old furniture we see often draped around waste bins. There is an awful lot of forest in the Amazon but there is also an awful lot of wood waste in our bins each and every day.

Spring cleaning

The Big Tidy Up is holding a new training session in Hackney shortly. You get very useful tips, materials and training in how to organise your community to get the clutter out of  your area. It’s great, I did it some time ago here in Tower Hamlets and its satisfying to see how those ugly spots turn into beauty spots after a hard days picking up the litter. You can also clear overgrown areas.

The next training session will be on Friday 23 April 2010 and there will be St. George’s Days events around the country.  Please visit their website for more details

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