Recycling – can Highland Council be arsed?

Squirrel in a binI’m all in favour of saving the planet.  I like it here, despite the weather.  Plus, the alternatives are a bit far away, and lacking in basic resources such as oxygen, survivable gravity levels and Irn Bru; while the situation with 3G or wifi for the iPhone is uncertain to say the least.

So to that end, I’ve been keen to do my bit by recycling.  I phoned Highland Council some weeks back asking what facilities there were in my local area, and the person I spoke to took my number and said that someone would get back to me.  Someone didn’t.  Neither did anyone.

So a more recent enquiry in person led to the identification of our local recycling facility, plus the odd and frankly discriminatory admission that the doorstep box pick-ups of recyclable materials don’t extend to flats like ours.  What is more, the local recycling facilities actually only extend to paper, clothes and drinks cans – leaving out other metals (eg food tins), plastics and bottles.

I discovered this after taking a large amount over in carrier bags, most of which I ended up bringing home again and chucking in the bin.

Yes there are other recycling facilities available, but more than a short walk away.  I refuse to walk a long way with bags of recycling, while taking the car to the recycling facilities is disingenuous.

I emailed Highland Council the other day to ask about this.  They wrote back at length explaining very informatively that it is very resource-intensive to take the full range of recyclable waste, as bulky items like bottles need regular uplift.  A fair point, snd I was grateful for the professional and detailed response, but given that this may put folk off recycling such things at all, I wonder whether it’s not an investment worth making.  Or even better, why it can’t just be done on the doorstep.

As I say, I’m all in favour of recycling, but unless it’s easily and locally accessible and caters for the full range of recyclable materials, ordinary people like me are not going to do it.  And that’s just being realistic – no amount of education or persuasion is going to turn us into enthuasiastic and vigilant recyclers; rather, we will do it if it’s not too much hassle.

Getting rid of our rubbish is easy because we just need to put it in a bin outside which is emptied once a fortnight.  Simple. Doing the recycling needs to be that easy, or more so.  Any greater burden, and people like me are going to continue not to bother.

So come on Highland Council, make it easy for me.  And if you can sort the weather out too, all the better.

3 thoughts on “Recycling – can Highland Council be arsed?

  1. You would, and in some senses Highland Council does do a good job of recycling (and most things). However, it’s hampered by it being a very sparsely-populated area (therefore all public services are costlier than in many other authorities), all the usual public spending cuts (not that this excuses historic deficiencies in the area), and this country’s terrible legislative and cultural environment for recycling.

  2. That’s a real shame. I have to say, recycling is one of the things that Moray council does right – my parents’ house has far better provision through the council than anywhere else I’ve lived in the UK.


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