Thursday, 3 December 2009

Council orders grandmother to dig up beloved garden to store unsightly wheelie bins

This headline appeared in one of the papers this weekend. Admittedly it was the Daily Mail and so there's always the temptation to take it with a pinch of salt, but it seems that this story is true….or at least according to various news agencies. 
Why didn’t I believe it at first? Because at no point in this story does it make sense!  If it does to you, can you please explain it to me?
I'm all in favour of sensible recycling, but Harlow Council have brought in two large wheelie bins and a collecting box to collect recycling.  Unfortunately for Sandra St John, she has nowhere to store them. At first the council suggested that she keep them out the back and manhandle them through her house on collections days. When she pointed out the impracticality of this, they told her she must pave over her lovingly tended front garden to make room for the two big bins.   Understandably Joan was upset: she's tended the roses and lavenders in her garden for 22 years and was attached to her garden.
A lot of local flooding is being blamed on people paving over their front gardens so that they can park.  This large scale paving of front gardens is apparently displacing the water and causing all sorts of flooding issues as well as destroying wildlife in urban areas. Last year the RHS flower show championed designs for front gardens that allowed for off road parking, whilst still remaining environmentally friendly. 
Moreover, as of October 2008, there are regulations in place to stop people randomly paving over their front gardens and you now have to apply for planning permission. Yet here we have a local council actually advocating this!
What I also don’t understand is why, when Sandra is quite content with the recycling baskets she currently has and feels no need for any more, is the council foisting these giant wheelie bins on her…and god only knows how much the production of these monsters bins puts on our environment.  
Why can’t we just go back to weekly collections and recycling rates might even rise, as already proven by Gedling Borough Council in Nottinghamshire who when, they finally did a U-turn on weekly collections found that their recycling rates rose dramatically.
Even more to the point, why aren’t the government and the local councils encouraging us to reuse things rather than send them to recycling. We really don’t need any more encouragement to throw things away. How about supporting the MIAMI take on life and go back to the old skills. What alternative use can you find for those old curtains, those empty jars, that bubble wrap, all that compost material for your garden?
Come on guys, lets get a little perspective on this whole recycling lark  and think before your throw….because, as we keep saying,
life’s too good to throw away.

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