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  • The bin revolt looms (weather permitting)


    by Rumbold
    16th September, 2008 at 11:26 pm    

    Britain is not particularly known for its revolutions. We have had riots (1381), civilised handovers of power (1688/9), and a civil war or two (1640s), but, in general, probably because of the rain, we don’t behave like the French. Yet something is stirring, and that something is anger over rubbish collections.

    In many ways rubbish collections epitomise the ideal of a modern, civilised society. Gone are the days when ordinary people would simply throw their rubbish into the street or the river. In today’s world, rich countries can afford to collect the rubbish of every household, while also providing facilities for the dumping of larger amounts of waste. A functioning sewage system completes the triumvirate. Apart from the obvious health benefits, it simply makes a country look nicer.

    Yet this system is under threat from a new attitude sweeping through central and local government. Putting out your rubbish now requires a postgraduate degree in waste management. Rubbish must be put into multiple containers, or you risk it not being collected. Bins must not be too heavy, or you risk it not being collected. Leaving the lid ajar could result in a fine. Fortnightly collections have begun to replace weekly ones. Now it seems (via Tim Worstall) that five of those areas with fortnightly collections are to pay more bin taxes as part of a pilot scheme.

    MPs and councillors don’t seem to realise how emotive an issue this is, as it affects the vast majority of people in their everyday lives. People don’t like rubbish pilling up in their house while the state officials whose wages and pensions they pay for refuse to collect it. The stench and disease don’t make life particularly pleasurable. Rubbish collections are already paid for through council tax, so unless councils are willing to cut council tax, there is going to be massive resentment over new bin taxes and reduced services.

    There might be a few rounds of applause from green groups, but I think that we are likely to see an increased level of civil disobedience over the next few months, as more and more householders stop pandering to a worsening system. Remember those pictures of Naples covered in rubbish? That could be Britain in a year’s time.


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    Filed in: Current affairs,Environmentalism






    13 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Sid — on 16th September, 2008 at 11:41 pm  

      You can’t hear how loudly I am cheering in agreement with this post, Rumbers.

    2. douglas clark — on 16th September, 2008 at 11:58 pm  

      Three cheers Rumbold, sometimes you surpass yourself….

    3. Riz — on 17th September, 2008 at 12:35 am  

      Ah, what the hell, I’m going to go back to throwing my sewage out of my window…actually, unless I throw it really hard it will just land on my patio….must rethink my stand. Any ideas for a revolt that doesn’t make us revolting in the process?

    4. Roger — on 17th September, 2008 at 3:52 am  

      “We have had riots (1381), civilised handovers of power (1688/9), and a civil war or two (1640s)”
      Up to a point, Lord Copper.

      “We have had riots (1981, 1990)…and a civil war or two (1640s, 1688/9, 1715, 1745, 1918/21, 1968/98)”

    5. Bishop Hill — on 17th September, 2008 at 7:48 am  

      Rumbold is right about the trouble coming, but there is an elephant in the room.

      The councils have to do this kind of thing because the landfills are being closed down. And they’re being closed down because the EU says so.

      Someone did an interesting post some months back in which the volume of material removed from quarries was compared to the volume of landfill required. The suggestion was that there is no shortage of landfill space.

      So we have an EU dictat, causing great difficulties in the UK, for no sensible reason.

      (It’s also worth noting that a modern landfill is rather a good way of recycling, since the vast majority of the gases given off can now be collected and used as fuel).

    6. Golam Murtaza — on 17th September, 2008 at 8:44 am  

      My council (Bradford) usually comes in for a bit of a kicking, but in the nearly three years I’ve lived here I’ve never had any problems with my rubbish collection. In fact the standard of collection has been excellent. However, reading Rumbold’s post makes me wonder how long that will last….

      Incidentally, nothing to do with the thread, but legend has it that a huge monster used to stalk the moors above nearby Ilkley and it was called ROMBOLD GIANT. Any connection ‘Rumbold’? :)

    7. Rumbold — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:39 am  

      Thanks Sid and Douglas. It feels strange for so many people to agree with me about something.

      Roger:

      True enough- but I didn’t want to put in too many dates in case eyes were rolled.

      Bishop Hill:

      I knew that the EU had something to do with it but I wasn’t quite sure what. Thanks for that.

      Golam Murtaza:

      “Incidentally, nothing to do with the thread, but legend has it that a huge monster used to stalk the moors above nearby Ilkley and it was called ROMBOLD GIANT. Any connection ‘Rumbold’?”

      Heh. Can’t say that there is.

    8. Amrit — on 17th September, 2008 at 10:42 am  

      This is the kind of thing me and several others were missing on PP - going outside the mainstream press!

      I would like to say ‘Good on the councils for pushing people to recycle more,’ but… *grimaces* There are better ways to do it than this!

      I can imagine this turning (like every issue in this country does!) into a cause for class snobbery as well. Middle-class mums and dads will drive themselves to the recycling depots, while working-class people who are trying to just get on will revolt… and then the papers will get hypocritically involved… :-( .

    9. Leon — on 17th September, 2008 at 12:12 pm  

      We have had riots (1381), civilised handovers of power (1688/9), and a civil war or two (1640s)

      You forgot to add the Brixton and Southall riots of the early 80s. ;)

    10. MaidMarian — on 17th September, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

      Rumbold - with the greatest of respect, stop being such a drama queen!

      Maybe the Daily Mail intelligentsia feel that they are being victimised on this one (‘Putting out your rubbish now requires a postgraduate degree in waste management’ - what to say - sorry you are thick?).

      To them and others I say tough. I also, incidentally said tough to the whingeing neighbours who tried to get a local campaign going.

      Amrit (8) is right that there probably are better ways to recycle, however I struggle to see anything that will not be painted by the Daily Mail and moaners as an imposition.

      If you want to have your revolution in my street Rumbold, make sure you clean up after your self-indulgent self. I’ll be doing something that worries me more like cleaning the mildew off my shower.

    11. Sunny — on 17th September, 2008 at 4:26 pm  

      lol at MM.

      There might be a few rounds of applause from green groups,

      Why would that be then?

    12. MaidMarian — on 17th September, 2008 at 6:53 pm  

      Sunny (11) - Thanks! I think!

    13. Rumbold — on 17th September, 2008 at 9:52 pm  

      Amrit:

      “I can imagine this turning (like every issue in this country does!) into a cause for class snobbery as well. Middle-class mums and dads will drive themselves to the recycling depots, while working-class people who are trying to just get on will revolt.”

      Exactly. And it is just those middle class people who are enforcing the laws, because they themselves are not affected. We need to hurry along the libertarian revolution.

      Leon:

      “You forgot to add the Brixton and Southall riots of the early 80s.”

      Heh. We could be here for days.

      MaidMarian:

      “Rumbold - with the greatest of respect, stop being such a drama queen!”

      Me- a drama queen?! I’m not going to talk to you now. Hmmph.

      “If you want to have your revolution in my street Rumbold, make sure you clean up after your self-indulgent self. I’ll be doing something that worries me more like cleaning the mildew off my shower.”

      I am not calling for a revolution, just noting that there is increasing resentment at this.

      Sunny:

      Green groups like any sort of recycling, as well as a fortnightly bin service, because it means less rubbish collected (or so they think).

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