Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Does Recycling Really Have To Be That Difficult?

I live in a place where recycling is the norm, people have been doing it for years and it is so habitual that it has become practically effortless. After successfully applying the simple mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” we have considerably cut the amount of non-recyclable waste we create in our household and I am very proud of that fact.

However, it seems that recycling is not as simple as this for everyone and, as I struggle to understand why some people continue to see it as a government conspiracy, I find an article that helps to explain a little more.

Only today a woman in Essex told of her ordeal as an Environmental Officer tried to barge into her home over the alleged offence of fly-tipping, when in fact they found part of her address label with some rubbish at a recycling point. She claimed her innocence only to have a police officer show up at her door shortly afterwards.

In my experience, local councils have the tendency to approach the subject in an aggressive and often intimidating manner. This kind of behaviour serves only one purpose; it reinforces the sceptic’s view that the government is strong-arming them into something they don’t want to do and it alienates people from the good work recycling can do. When will local councils learn that this is not the way to approach this? Sure, it is important that repeat offenders are pursued and that fly-tipping is dealt with, but it has to be done in a measured and considered way that takes into account the sensibilities of the population.

It is as always a question of education, if people are told how good recycling is for the general community and how easy it is to do I imagine that scenes like the one in Essex will not be necessary and that fearsome Environmental Officer can then try and work with the community rather than against it.

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