Don't make recycling too tough

RECYCLING is worthwhile – and Ipswich council's attempts to boost it by introducing blue and brown bins are generally praiseworthy.But the muddle the council has got into by failing to explain to householders the changes it has made in recent months has eroded much of the goodwill that is needed to make the system work.

RECYCLING is worthwhile - and Ipswich council's attempts to boost it by introducing blue and brown bins are generally praiseworthy.

But the muddle the council has got into by failing to explain to householders the changes it has made in recent months has eroded much of the goodwill that is needed to make the system work.

Thousands of homes have found annoying stickers on their blue bins over the last few weeks telling them that they haven't been emptied because they contain the wrong kind of rubbish.

Calls to the council have been handled helpfully - but are telling people something different to what they have heard before.


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And the situation is confusing. Take crisp packets. Just about every crisp these days comes in a packet saying “foil wrapped for freshness” that is gleamingly metallic.

Yet people have been told that their bins haven't been emptied because the refuse collectors have seen crisp packets in the top.

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Foil is supposed to be one of the things that should be recycled but crisp packets made out of foil are classified as “carrier bags.” Confused? You should be!

What has happened, of course, is that the recycling rules have changed after the council moved to a new depot at Great Blakenham.

Notices might have been sent out in January about the changes - but there was no explanation on them that the rules had changed, nor that they would wait until the summer holidays before launching a blitz on rule-breaking households.

I'm sure the result of all this will, in effect, be to persuade more people that recycling just isn't worth the bother and will try to shove everything in their black bins.

And won't that be a triumph for the recycling message!

AS someone who's just returned from a two-week holiday, I have great sympathy with the Prime Minister for all the flak he's coming under for being out of the country at the moment.

I have no doubt he'd have gone to Robin Cook's funeral had he been at work - whether or not John McCrirrick put in an appearance.

But to suggest he should drop everything and fly back from his holiday for the funeral, or to sort out the Heathrow strike, or whatever else is happening today seems quite absurd.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that a family with young children should enjoy a three-week holiday, especially when dad and mum seem to spend much of the year jetting round the world on business.

Would his critics feel happier if he collapsed from exhaustion?

Do you remember all the criticism Mrs Thatcher attracted for her unwillingness to take a holiday and delegate to her cabinet colleagues?

There is much that Mr Blair can be justifiably criticised for, but it seems a bit rich to have a go at him for doing something that the vast majority of families do every year.

And I'll bet most of his critics will be going on holiday somewhere in 2005.

A LAST word on holidays. I've just come back from spending 10 days on the England/Scotland border just in Northumberland.

If I ever hear anyone describe Suffolk as remote or rural again, I'll just laugh at them. We were staying somewhere that was 13 miles from the nearest Co-op store (which was about a quarter the size you'll find on any Ipswich estate) with no mobile phone signal.

The nearest towns of any size (ie as big as Woodbridge or Hadleigh) were about 30 miles away (and over the Scottish border) and the nearest emergency services were based a very long way away.

It was a wonderful place to get away from it all - but you don't need much imagination to see how cut off it must be in the middle of winter.

That is remote - frankly people who go on about Suffolk being remote don't have a clue!

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