Saturday, October 8, 2011

What a Load of Rubbish

Imagine my surprise when we discovered that the rubbish collection here in our lovely borough is only once a fortnight.  (Translation for Americans: once every two weeks).  Not only that, but we are allowed only one medium sized wheelie bin for our regular rubbish.  Now, we are a family of 5, the smallest of whom is still in nappies.  I just can't see how this is going to work.  So I called up the council and pleaded my case.  I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I must adhere to the limits.  Never mind that 2 weeks worth of nappies will fill up half of that bin.  According to my local council the only things that should be going in that bin are the nappies and a certain kind of plastic wrappers.  Everything else is recyclable.  Really?  I can think of a few other things that shouldn't be recycled (dryer lint, used Kleenex, etc. but who am I to argue?).

Which brings me to the next point:  Recycling.  The council has set up a convoluted recycling scheme with multiple buckets, bags, bins and barrels.  Food waste in one, tins and glass in another, cartons and cardboard separate from household paper.  One bag for junk mail, but not envelopes.  A bag for dead batteries and one for clothing that is clean and useable.  Three green bags for garden trimmings.  I think I need a spreadsheet to keep track of it all!

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to organize all these items while I wait for them to be picked up.  At the moment, I am simply shoving all recycling into a spare kitchen cabinet.  It looks like this:

There must be a better way.

And what about the garage full of cardboard we were left with after Tom assembled our house full of IKEA furniture?  Well, that required three trips to the local recycling centre which in and of itself is a sight to see.

Leave your unwanted fridge here.

Yes, one of those is actually for recycling used postage stamps. 

Now I've seen everything!
Did you know you can actually recycle your old bras?  Yep, here you can.  I guess everything actually can be recycled after all!


  1. This would be hell! I am already shocked that we have only our small wheelie bin once a week, and we usually end up filling one of the elderly single neighbors too! The nappies kill ya as far as rubbish space! Recycle Postage stamps eigh? How many does it take to reach critical mass of postage stamps to throw em into the "recycler?" I bet the council is still discussing the "wasteful" Yank who called, we did the same thing here :)
    I love living abroad but America is amazing is so many delightful little ways, like Waste Management. No Expat books mention this topic, could be a forum for us to could start..."are you sure your ready to move abroad, how do you feel about REALLY thinking about your rubbish and plotting ways to get rid off it, legally or otherwise?"

  2. I love it Jenny. You will become a master at this too! When we were in Sydney I would have downsized our rubbish bin if we had owned the house. Call me a hippie (I'll probably take it as a compliment:) but I LOVE the idea of reducing waste. Stamps? I agree, that's too far. But a community composting, that just gets me all excited!!!

  3. Wow I didn't even know there is such a thing as a recycle centre. Our rubbish is emptied weekly here, we get a small wheely bin for rubbish and a large one for recycling - obviously to encourage people to recycle more. You can take extra rubbish to the tip but driving out there is gross and it costs a lot of money.

    I loved that in Spain rubbish was emptied every day but I didn't love that you had to take your rubbish out in public to do it:

  4. One days worth of Diet Coke, I assume?

  5. Love the bra bank! I really wonder what they do with them?! Good luck with your sorting skills.:-)

  6. Your posts are getting me all excited..heheheh I am about to go out but will come back to comment on the post about tea or not tea and the recycling post.
    We've just went to the tip here in Oz yesterday to dispose all our unwanted gadgets. Have a great week.

  7. ..on second thought, all those nappies would be a drag. I don't suppose you're switching to cloth?
    Love you! CBT

  8. oh my gosh, that's hilarious! Too much organizing for trash if you ask me. In our last neighborhood the trash guys only came once every 2 weeks. And we are a family of four and it was still a lot! Good luck with that!

  9. I think this was one of the areas that we got so excited about when we moved from the UK to Florida. Trash collection twice weekly, no limits, yey! Actually if you are a family of 5 or more in the UK, call your local council Environmental Services office and request a large Bin. You are entitled and it will make the world of difference. (I only know this fact because my grown up daughter worked at the council in this area and found this out for me) There were actually people who go out and measure if your lid is open more than 2 inches and fine you if so - yes, truly bad I know. Make that call, lol. Thanks for your comment on my page, Sally xx


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