Bin there

  • Chris Jeavans
  • 6 Aug 08, 11:40 AM GMT

Cutting out plastics has slimmed our kitchen bin considerably but it is very strange getting used to living without black polythene bin bags.

Bin collectionThe bin has an inner unit so, in theory, we could put food waste in there unwrapped, tip it into the dustbin when full and wash out the inner bin with the garden hose. In theory.

In practice I don't fancy this at all so I am trying to protect my inner bin from the worst of the slops.

This has involved lining it with newspaper, wrapping food waste before chucking it and putting all my raw fruit and veg scraps on the compost heap.

But a knock-on effect of this is to divert newspaper from our recycling bin into the normal waste stream - which is destined for landfill.

This has major drawbacks: creating paper requires a lot of resources (wood, water, energy) so throwing it away is very inefficient. It also takes up a lot of space in landfill and biodegrades slowly.

And then, like all biodegradable material in landfill, when it does break down, it does so in anaerobic conditions, creating the powerful greenhouse gas, methane.

Wrapping waste in paper may also just be impractical. With rubbish collection day (today) looming, I started to worry that our waste-parcel-filled dustbin would be rejected by the bin men, so I called the council.

At first they were unsure. The woman on the "Cleaner, greener borough" hotline told me it would "ruin" my dustbin to put un-bagged waste in it and advised strongly against.

However, when I rang the recycling team they agreed, after some discussion, that the bin men should be able to tip the dustbin straight into the collection lorry.

As to whether the guys on the ground know about this policy, I will find out when I get home this evening.

If not, I'm going to have to apologise to my neighbours for a stinky bin and find some other solution.

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