Waste of Time

The waste management situation in Cumbria is a complete shambles. Arguably the Lake District and therefore Cumbria is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. There are a high proportion of people living in and around the lakes that have a very positive attitude to recycling and would want to keep it that way.

No so our elected representatives it would seem. The public face of recycling in Cumbria is all about roadshows and massive ads in the local press advising people where and when they can recycle. Despite all this, the only not to recycling in the Windermere area is a twice monthly paper collection. Glass, cans, anything else and you've got to take it to the 'civic amenity site'.

This month I pulled out some old wooden panelling and shelving whilst carrying out a renovation project. As the boot in my car is only small I applied for the required permit to take rubbish to the 'civic amenity site' in my van. When I got there I was informed that the permit did not include wood, only household rubbish and that I would need a different permit for wood. So back home I go, unload all the wood as I need the van for something else the following day and apply for a 'wood' permit. This duly arrives.

The wood is reloaded, and again I drive through to Kendal. When I unload, they then tell me that the chipboard cannot be recycled and has to go in the general waste. So not only have I wasted time and fuel, I could have put the stuff out for my local weekly collection anyway and saved a lot of bother, if not the planet.

Why do they do this? Why is it so hard to recycle materials that can be reused? My theory is that it's all about money. They cannot afford to recycle too much as the cost would escalate.

This is very narrow minded. I persevered but not everyone would. What are the alternatives if the council will not dispose of perfectly acceptable materials? I could have burnt it - releasing any carbon or if I had been unscrupulous, just dumped it as others do. And who has to then clear up the mess made by fly tippers, usually at much greater cost? Why good old Cumbria County Council.
Isn't it time for some joined up thinking on this subject?