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Sequin | 16:41 UK time, Monday, 28 April 2008

I've been spending a fair bit of time looking in people's bins . Not just for the sheer fun of it - and my goodness it was fun. But because bins are becoming an election issue in Wales. In Newport and six other Welsh councils the decision has been taken to move to fortnightly rubbish collections. Some residents are furious - saying it leaves their streets stinky, overcrowded and rat-ridden. The Conservatives in Wales say they are the only party pledging to restore weekly rubbish collections. They're fielding more candidates than ever in Wales - they think the tide is turning their way and just like the rats around the bins they think they're thriving.

Here are some pix of my visit to Newport. You can see the streets of bins, the overloaded bins and the moment when, deprived of human company, I decided to interview a pile of tin cans at a recycling centre.

My full report is on PM this evening





  • 1. At 5:17pm on 28 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    And what did the sorting machine have to say?

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  • 2. At 5:20pm on 28 Apr 2008, Genfly wrote:

    Householders don’t create waste - As householders are only the conveyer-belt of waste between the retailer and those responsible for its disposal – blaming them for its contents is like blaming school-bus drivers for what they are conveying on their bus.

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  • 3. At 5:30pm on 28 Apr 2008, Poverty wrote:

    It's all due to having packaged government.

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  • 4. At 5:40pm on 28 Apr 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    We don't put that much rubbish in our bin - and we're a family of five with a fortnightly collection. Don't they recycle anything in Newport?

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  • 5. At 5:49pm on 28 Apr 2008, PrudhoeDuncan wrote:

    The lady in the item doesn't HAVE to put dirty nappies in the bin; modern re- usable nappies are good and cheap and can easily be washed. I' ve used them for two children and they really are no problem. I'm a man, by the way- we too can wash and change nappies!

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  • 6. At 6:00pm on 28 Apr 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I wonder if they get fired for overloading their bins?

    I like the last photo.

    Oh, but who's that sinister shadow in the first pic?

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  • 7. At 6:35pm on 28 Apr 2008, annasee wrote:

    Goodness me, Carolyn, your career's certainly on the up since you left "Today", isn't it? How lucky are you, to get an all-expenses trip to look at other people's bins! What have you got for us tomorrow, a trip to a sewage works? ;)

    Great photos. Are you sure that last one isn't an entry for the Turner Prize? It's very colourful, with a deep questioning philosophical statement about our society's values behind it, surely?

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  • 8. At 6:52pm on 28 Apr 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    Sorting Machine? But thank you Sequin.

    It is all rubbish to it. Sort it owt or I will! lol

    Subbranch - Inquire lion - Harlequins Bio - Inn Curb - Bar Inn, squire bio Lunch - Inn bar icon Blush Quire

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  • 9. At 8:08pm on 28 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Genfly @ 2, just exactly so.

    Where I live, the council collect every week and recycle compostable/kitchen rubbish, glass, card, paper, and lots of strange things like batteries and shoes (only in pairs), but they don't collect plastic of any sort.

    Plastic has to go in the fortnightly landfill rubbish bin, or else be taken either to another town or to the plastic-collection point at a local supermarket. Pretty-much all that plastic is from that supermarket, wrapping that is vastly larger than it needs to be and fills the fortnightly bin leaving no room for anything else.

    Since I have nowhere to put that completely unnecessary plastic, when I do my shopping once a week I take it to the supermarket's complaints desk, clean and dry but very bulky. I know that all they will do is put it into the plastic-collection bin at the other end of their car-park, but it means that the manager gets it pointed out to him once a week that this is wilful waste packaging and his supermarket chain ought to stop inflicting it on us all.

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  • 10. At 8:18pm on 28 Apr 2008, al_opecia wrote:

    Dear CG @ 9 - Yes I do that and it drives them mad - particlularly when I ask to see the Manager to enquire as to why during the summer the on-site petrol station has the air-conditioning on at full blast, with the door propped open, wasting untold amounts of energy. Answer "because it gets too cold", I just despair......

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  • 11. At 8:21pm on 28 Apr 2008, al_opecia wrote:

    Dear Frances O @ 6 - I think that its Derren Brown about to do a card trick..

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  • 12. At 9:18pm on 28 Apr 2008, Deepthought wrote:

    My mother lives in a fortnightly collection area. And, for the first time in almost 50 years there, there is a rat problem. I've commented on it in my blog, where they have gone through things like crocus blubs, being very specific in their choice. I know it's rats, by the evidence they leave.

    Now it's not my mother who is generating rat-attractive waste, (she generates so little after recycling) but we have to assume some of the neighbours, but they all suffer.

    However, I'd like to know how the rats climb the wheeley bins, open the lids to get in etc. I live in an area where we have no bins, have to put out plastic bags, and our problem is the local foxes, not rats.

    Chris Fish (9).

    Here in London, my local authority (Richmond) does not collect yoghert pots, while a near neighbour (Ealing) does. Richmond insists of plastic bottles with lids on, despite that being two different types of plastic. The confusion on plastic recycling must be one reason why it has a poor take up in some areas.

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  • 13. At 11:14pm on 28 Apr 2008, Aperitif wrote:

    Ah but Sequin, you had a much more exciting day than I did.

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  • 14. At 1:25pm on 29 Apr 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    Hello Sequin, nice to see you back!

    I agree with everyone below who talks about SUpermarket packaging being a huge culprit - Chris that's a fantastic idea - what response do you get?

    My shopping involves avoiding all unecessary packaging & choosing the 'loose' veg & fruit wherever possible, to the extent that the cooking is influenced by what's available packaging-free!

    There seems to be huge variation across the country as to what's recycled where, & generally there is a huge lack of recycling bins in public areas, so people don't get used to recycling all the time. In a tiny village in Italy where we were on holiday 2 years ago, they had separate recycling bins all around the village.

    I would support anyone who started a campaign (maybe there is one already somewhere?) to make it a legal requirement to minimise ALL packaging and make any that IS used compostable, and to get recycling as standardised as possible across the country. The mish-mash & confusion at the moment is as bad as the dog's dinner we call our railways!

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  • 15. At 5:55pm on 29 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    The photo of the crushed tins is far better than anything Hirst or Emin can produce.

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  • 16. At 6:03pm on 29 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    gossipmistress @ 14, these days he mostly sighs and says 'hullo Chris'. :-) But he passes on my complaint to Head Office once a week, which is the main thing. Well, the second main thing is that I saw somebody else doing it the other week, and she told me she had taken to bringing in her plastic for him because she saw me doing it, so maybe the idea will spread.

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  • 17. At 4:45pm on 30 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    CG 16,
    I'm dropping my plastics off at your house for you to return.

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  • 18. At 6:45pm on 30 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    DMcN @ 17, I suspect that of being an obscenity that should be moderated off the boards sharpish before it gives any rockers coniption fits....

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  • 19. At 6:08pm on 01 May 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    CG 18,
    They are very clean plastics.

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  • 20. At 9:28pm on 02 May 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    DMcN @ 19, I don't mind returning them; will you have the kettle on for a nice cup of tea when I get them back to your house?

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