In the UK we produce an unbelievable load of rubbish – that is of course rubbish in terms of garbage! Every year the volume increases exponentially, and this has been going on for decades (we are heading for four hundred MILLION tons!). We are a disgrace in Europe. Fifty of sixty years ago we didn’t create all that much waste – our households had very little domestic refuse, there was very little to recycle, and we lived in a society that didn’t have an excess of possessions, took care of their things and repaired anything that broke – nobody would dream for example of letting food waste or indeed throw it away!
So, what has changed? Quite a lot unfortunately! Britain, like many Western countries, has become a throw-away society – if it is out of fashion (everything is now fashion driven including electricals, even furniture, doors, wooden stuff, metal goods, and most other things as well as clothes!) it goes in the trash, even if seemingly is totally serviceable. The fashion side of our life is ‘driven’ by the enormous amount of money spent on advertising so even our youngest kids of a few years old are enticed, and are bitten by the bug!
Then there is the problem of packaging – every bleeding thing you can buy is packaged, even a screw. Any of course, despite all the protestations and promises of the manufacturers and retailers, products continue to be ‘over-packaged’. Why is that? Because it’s easy and sells products silly! In the middle of the last century your local shop would have a sack of potatoes and serve you what you needed, or a sack of rice, or onions; sweets were in large jars (and somehow tasted better!), cheese was in massive slabs for them to cut from, eggs were NOT in boxes (and often fresh from the farm), milk was in glass reusable bottles (as was all drinks including beer!). You got your goods in a paper bag (very environmental friendly). Then came the explosive time of the supermarkets and the packaging of everything under the sun – with more expensive food and not cheaper as we all imagine (and the supermarkets are still obsessively driving out the small retailer).
And the throw away culture we live in? Well, just try to get your modern TV repaired – you can’t do so economically, so it is down to the dump, and then buy a new one. Get your electric lawn mower repaired – forget it, get the shears out. Chair leg broken – get a new chair. Hole in sock – no darning these days. Shirt badly stained – in the bin. Car damaged in crash – written off (surprisingly though you see it driving round afterwards). Fence wind damaged – not repaired, replaced. Knife, sheers, chisels, etc blunt – replace them. All this is discarded stuff that goes into the rubbish.
Then there is all the things that can be recycled – most of that packaging, wood, cardboard, garden green stuff (making compost), metal (including cans), and even food waste. In recent years the Councils have got their act together and are providing the facilities – but millions of people don’t give a dam, and don’t bother, too lazy, and into the general RUBISH their stuff goes.
So what happens to all our rubbish? Into so called ‘land fill’. That means that it is simply dumped in some location and nit really buried – some sixty million tons p (a lot is even sent abroad to contaminate what was used to be called third world countries), where it will partially rot away (not the bulk), will be toxic, possibly pollute our water supply, will give off putrid gases and then contaminate the land for ever. Hazardous waste is NOT ALLOWED in normal landfill – but you can be sure that it still gets there! Is there any alternative? Well what about dramatically reducing the rubbish? WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF LANDFILL, as well as breaching EU requirements! Then what to do? Incineration! That would safely save our Country. But then the population don’t want to have a plant anywhere near them – a recent case in Kings Lynn demonstrates the point, where they have fought tooth & nail to prevent an incinerator being built (no no no, just bury it in someone else’s back yard!).
Then there is our scum people – those who without a though or care in the world litter our streets, our countryside, our rivers, our villages, our forests, our mountains, our green, our alleyways, our paddling pools, our open spaces, our beaches, our underpasses, and anywhere else they can find! It costs at least a billion pounds to clear things up – council taxpayer’s money that could be put to better use (many of these louts have never paid any tax in their life). It is not just young teenagers, but mature adults, and even children. We are a sick society to live in where that kind of behaviour is tolerated – and they all but a few get away with it! Just try dropping some litter in Singapore, and your feet won’t touch the ground! Some disgusting car drivers simply open a window and their rubbish is gone – wherever they happen to be. The fast food takeaway outlets provide a lot of the litter in town & cities – only some provide a bin outside, but the point is that their customers don’t eat outside, they walk off and discard their part eaten food and packaging in the vicinity. All such businesses should pay an extra fee to their council – a substantial amount to boot! Makers and sellers of chewing gum should also be similarly treated – this discarded product is a key blight on our streets. McDonalds & Coco Cola are the big multinationals behind much of our littering.
How can we stop littering? Make it ‘unacceptable’ – like we have with drink driving. Find the culprits and punish them harshly (many authorities issue warnings and advice instead of punishments!). Get parents to bring up their kids with proper standards (educate them) – punish them if their kids offend. Get schools to reiterate the message – never drop litter. Councils need to help with more litter bins, there are not nearly enough – many were taken away at the time of IRA terrorist attacks with bin bombs (they need to be returned). The Government doesn’t help – they have decimated funding to the organisation trying to promote a national spick and span culture (budget slashed by 90%). Most of the public are too frightened to confront litters – afraid of a violent confrontation.
Then there are the scurrilous moron fly-tippers – they drop off gigantic amounts of rubbish and discarded items in any quite area they can find (often on farmers land, incidents up & up, costing them millions of pounds to dispose of). A lot of the shysters who do this, actually collect the trash commercially, but are just criminals who won’t pay to take it to a tip, and most never get caught – bring back capital punishment!