The fraudulent business of recycling

www.spectator.co.uk
4 min read
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I am a litter picker. No, not one of those high-minded volunteers who have proliferated of late with litter-picking sticks and black bags, but a professional: I am paid to empty the bins and collect the debris left by the public in a small park in Middle England. And I'm angry, not with the great Br...
itish public who leave the stuff but with the real litter louts who are the root cause of the problem. As summer approaches and people who have been stuck indoors crowd into the beauty spots and on to the beaches, litter becomes a hot topic and it is important to be clear where the blame lies.

When I became a bin man, I thought I was contributing to a cleaner, healthier planet. I read the claims made by government, business and industry about the progress in reducing landfill and the exporting of waste, along with the advances made in recycling and reduced packaging. So I looked for ways of improving this collaboration, and encouraging my public to be more responsible about what they throw away and where they throw it.

At first I was full of hope. 'My' public are brilliant. When I arrive first thing in the morning to clear away any litter, there are never more than a couple of items on the ground, almost certainly the work of resident crows, the rest having been conscientiously placed in the bins by the previous day's picnickers and the previous night's revellers.

However there is a problem. Although there are bins labelled 'Recycled', most of them are filled with whatever. 'Whatever' is predominantly dog mess and food. Dog mess and food are here to stay, what with al fresco eating and drinking acquiring an unprecedented popularity — and increased dog ownership. But any food residue, as…
Stewart Dakers
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