I FEEL bad saying this – but when you live in Basingstoke and Deane, it really is just too easy not to recycle.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been high-lighted as one of the worst-performing authorities for recycling, and whilst I take responsibility for my actions and wouldn’t want to blame anyone else, I do believe that the borough council’s approach and policies don’t encourage everyone to recycle.
I understand the benefits of recycling, and I know how important it is, and sometimes I do make a conscious effort to try and sort my rubbish. But the reality is that it’s just too easy not to recycle.
For people with busy lives, recycling rarely reaches the top of the list of things to do, particularly as we do not directly see the consequences of our actions if we fail to recycle.
Yes, I understand that the world needs to become more sustainable and I know that if everyone does their bit, it will make a difference. But if I ‘forget’ to put my milk bottle in the green bin, nothing bad happens to me as a result.
I know this is a lazy, selfish attitude – but I’m obviously not the only person who behaves in this way, or Basingstoke’s recycling rates would be far better.
I do feel guilty about it, but the guilt is the same as if I were to devour a large cream cake – it’s not enough to stop me from doing it again!
I believe that in order to encourage people like me to recycle, there needs to be a negative consequence to our actions if we don’t, or a positive benefit if we do.
In Eastleigh – the best-performing authority in Hampshire for recycling – residents have far less space in their rubbish bins.
If our borough council gave residents smaller household bins for rubbish and bigger bins for recycling, we would, effectively, be forced into sorting our rubbish.
If my grey household bin was overflowing each week and there was not enough space, sorting my rubbish for recycling would soon climb higher up my list of things to do.
It’s the same with plastic bags. If all supermarkets charged for bags, more people would take their own – me being one of them.
My parents are a great example of how to recycle properly, and they have a workable system in place whereby everything is properly cleaned and sorted. They would be the first to criticise me for my failure to do the same – but I just haven’t got there yet.
It’s a matter of habit, and once it’s adopted as part of everyday life, it becomes second nature. But it’s always something I’ll do tomorrow, rather than addressing today.
The other barrier which prevents me recycling properly is the confusion as to what can and cannot be recycled.
There seem to be so many rules – I still don’t know if milk bottle tops can be recycled.
Sometimes it seems a pointless exercise if I’m just going to get it wrong any way and contamin-ate all of my recycling.
Surely the borough council could make it easier for us all by placing stickers on our bins telling us exactly what can and can’t be recycled?
Giving out leaflets and stickers that get discarded is little help. If the sticker is on the bin lid in front of us, then you can’t miss it.
The kerbside glass recycling scheme, that was introduced in the last couple of years, has worked, and I believe that’s down to the fact the council has made it extremely easy to do.
We always put our glass jars and bottles into the box provided, and all we have to do is leave it outside and it is conveniently collected.
I know that councils can’t change the attitudes of everyone, and there will always be people who don’t care.
But I do care – I want to recycle, and I’m asking the council to make it easier for me to do that. Am I alone in feeling this way?