I counted the bins outside my house this morning as I left for work: three. One small box for plastic bottles, cans and newspapers; one green for cardboard and garden waste; and one grey for general waste.
Now I won't get into how different London Boroughs have different recycling plans, but let me tell you, after almost two years in the same house I still struggle to figure out what goes where. Apparently I`m not able to recycle envelopes with plastic windows as one and have to mindfully separate the plastic from the paper before disposing...
Coming from Norway, considered as the 5th most environmentally friendly country in the world, I remember also having a tiny red box for things like batteries and broken glass, as well as bottle banks around town for unrecyclable bottles. Oh yeah, in Norway we have a great recycling scheme for bottles - not sure which other countries use it now; when you buy the bottle you pay a small 'fee' that you get back when you bring the bottle back for reuse. You can even count how many times each bottle has been reused by looking at the number of marks on the bottom - usually one bottle can be reused 10-15 times before it goes on to new adventures in the recycling world. Anyway, I do digress. The question was: how many recycling bins do Brits really need?
According to research by The TaxPayers' Alliance some councils are asking householders to sort their rubbish into as many as nine bins, bags and boxes, with the average being four. Is this too many?
Personally, I think as long as you have clear and universal guidelines - UK councils and London Boroughs take note - it doesn't matter if you have to separate your rubbish into three, four or nine sections. And increased recycling will only improve the impact we humans have on the world, but only if the waste is duly kept separate at the other end. It doesn't help if it all ends up in the same landfill after collection...
What is the recycling scheme like where you live, are you happy with it or not?
Image from Forskning.no