Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A bit of a dump

This little lot, hauled out from no more than 50m2 of the woodland edge behind it, was just one small part of the litter and flytipping recovered from the parts of Stockwood targetted in a litter-pick on April 1st.

Extracting it from the woods and open spaces certainly reinforces anyone's misanthropic leanings, but more positively it encourages reflection on the throwaway society, waste collection strategies, and how the hell we're going to manage when our planet acquires a new plasticised aluminised skin of snack food wrappers. (Maybe its reflective quality will compensate for the diminishing polar ice cover and we needn't worry about climate change after all? Or maybe not.)

So why do people throw it away? Not the casual thoughtless littering, but the more serious, calculated stuff, which can involve shifting heavy items a long way off-road. 

Like this stuff, dumped a good 100m along the path by Brislington Brook and slowly spread during the following week. Smaller than most fly-tips, but fairly typical of a partial house clearance, this was brought over from Withywood and just dropped, without any attempt at concealment. Possibly by the occupier named on the bills among the waste, more likely by the landlord, or maybe by white van man. I just hope the enforcement people make a better job of finding out than May Gurney made of clearing it.

One reason for the tipping must be that there's little risk of getting caught, and it would be good to see much more effective enforcement. Another's the sheer volume of stuff we're urged to throw away to make room for something else in an unsustainable economy that relies on ever increasing consumption. And another's the cost of disposing of it (especially commercial waste).

Ideally, disposal costs would be free at point of use, and met by a levy built into the price of goods to reflect their true costs. Can't see that happening though. Equally unlikely (and unfair too) would be a free 'bulk load' disposal service provided by the council at public expense. Maybe a compromise would be a mobile 'bring' site – meaning skips - on a regular rota, where residents could bring their excess property, then left awhile for those of us who might find a use for it, and the residue removed later.

No doubt Mr Pickles (whom Damien Hirst preserve) and the Daily Mail would put the whole problem down to the evil of fortnightly doorstep collection of residual waste, which, they claim, infringes the basic rights of every Englishman. Wasn't it good to see that Pickles' bribe to councils to revert to weekly residual waste collections was taken up by just one council (Gloucester city) ; all the other bidders have had the good sense to seek funding instead for such as segregated food waste collection.

Food waste recycling - that's an initiative which, I would argue, did more to demonstrate Bristol's status as a progressive modern city than any new stadium or arena could possibly have done.

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