Ericathephantom’s Weblog

Businesses Making Home Recycling Seem Worthless
May 30, 2008, 1:11 am
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Saul Gravy (

RELATED TO PREVIOUS POST: Are Our Recycling Efforts Making any Difference?

With an emphasis on recycling in the home, so many businesses aren’t doing their bit to help.

Businesses that aren’t recycling large amounts of recyclable waste or packaging make small efforts made in households seem a waste of time. However, some businesses just don’t have the time or facilities to recycle effectively. 

Maria Gray, the manager of a restaurant in Wolverhampton said:

“ Shamefully, we do not recycle everything that it is possible. We have a dedicated cardboard bin but on busy nights this gets filled up far too quickly and the majority of it gets thrown away with the regular waste.  

We also recycle glass but unfortunately the council hasn’t provided us plastic recycling facilities. Even if we did have plastic recycling facilities, there would be near impossible to wash every container for recycling, especially on the busy weekend nights”.

“We’d like to do more to help with recycling but there just isn’t the time or space available even if we did have the proper facilities.”

 Supermarkets have recently been cracked down on the amount of recyclable packaging they use. Marks & Spencer and Lidl used the lowest percentage of packaging which could be recycled, at 62 per cent.

M&S took the same title last year. Dr Helene Roberts, head of food packaging at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re really disappointed with the report, which does not reflect reality. From our independently audited data we know that 91 per cent of our food packaging is recyclable. By 2012 we want to reach 100 per cent. “

“The LGA has chosen to only look at a skewed sample of 29 products out of our 5,500 lines, which are not representative. The real issue at the moment is the inconsistency in recycling facilities across the UK.


The efforts we make at home seem pretty insignificant compared to the neglect of large businesses. A Defra spokesman said: “Individual local authorities have the responsibility to determine the recycling solutions that best suit their communities”


 “Five local authorities will next year be undertaking pilot schemes to create incentives for recycling. We will evaluate the impact of those pilots before making a final decision on whether other local authorities can introduce similar schemes.

LGA environment board chairman Cllr Paul Bettison said: “The days of the cling-film coconut must come to an end. We all have a responsibility to reduce the amount of waste being thrown into landfill, which is damaging the environment and contributing to climate change.


Binman Bother
May 29, 2008, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Paul Thomas

With councils urging its residents to recycle, why is this still such a difficulty?

Most areas in the UK have some kind of recycling scheme with coloured bins or boxes collected fortnightly, however, this can still somehow be complicated due to rules and regulations.

Binmen were once people you would say hello to in a morning, now they appear to be public enemy number one with regards to recycling and not taking people’s rubbish.

For example, in Perry Barr, Birmingham, residents don’t even have bins to put their rubbish into. Rubbish has to be left in black bin bags on the pavement as well as recycling in the colour coordinated boxes. One frustration amongst residents is that binmen refuse to collect the backs if they aren’t black bin liners or they have rips in them.

Amy Galloway, a student resident of Perry Barr said: “ We leave our rubbish in bags outside to be collected. However, in the night cats tear open the bags and in the morning the binmen refuse to collect them.

We have a small round bin that we put out, not provided by the council, to help. But the binmen also refuse to collect anything not in bags out on the pavement. Are they just lazy or are they council drones?”

Lisa Collie, another student in Perry Barr added: “They also leave behind recycling that has fallen out of the boxes overnight on the street when they could just as easily pick them up. They just don’t care because they know by law they don’t have to pick it up. We have a problem with rats and stray cats in the area and this doesn’t help.”

Earlier in February this year, Red Dwarf star Daniel John-Jules (who played ‘Cat’) was arrested for threatening binmen with a samurai sword after it is believed they refused to collect his rubbish. Blogger “Jantar: ‘Glob-a-log” takes on, as always, a satirical, humorous tone:

“Yes, if you ever have had to deal with the professional obstructionists who call themselves civil servants, from your local bin man to the director general of the Post Office, then you can sympathize with anyone who’d crack when one of these zombified no-men gets in their face just one time too often.

Indeed, even the chilliest of chill-out cat could lose his cool with these obnoxious ‘just-following-orders’ & ‘more-tan-my-job’s-worth’ pests.”

Now, the council in the Craven area of North Yorkshire are asking residents to remove glass and cans from their bins to reduce the risk of staff being injured by repeated lifting. They state that lifting the rubbish is having a “negative effect” on refuse workers and asks residents to “take a lot of the strain out of the job for our staff“. This is another blow for binmen public relations.

Last Christmas, fewer people than ever were tipping their binmen over the frustrations surrounding rubbish collections. However, the binmen aren’t solely to blame. Senior organiser for public services, Justin Bowden said:

“Some of the new rules have been introduced in such a cack-handed way that people are fed up,” said senior organiser Justin Bowden.

“Binmen have suffered verbal and physical abuse where they used to get a friendly hello. That’s distressing for people who work hard all the year doing a difficult, dirty and tough job.”  (Source-BBC) 

Beavers Set to Make a UK Comeback
May 29, 2008, 11:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Toby Maudsley (

After nearly 400 years of extinction, beavers are set to make an appearance in our British countryside once more.

The beaver, once hunted for its fur and medicinal oils, will be reintroduced into a forest in south-west Scotland in an attempt to reintroduce the animal to Britain.

Up to 20 will be released into the Scottish wild after being flown in from Norway this autumn and quarentined. Currently, plans are being made to reintroduce the beaver to other parts of the UK. This week plans will be unveiled to release beavers into parts of Wales.

Environment Minister Michael Russell has given the go-ahead for up to four beaver families to be released in Knapdale, Argyll, on a trial basis. He said:


“They are charismatic, resourceful little mammals and I fully expect their reappearance in Knapdale to draw tourists from around the British Isles and even further afield.

“Other parts of Europe, with a similar landscape to Scotland, have reintroduced beavers and evidence has shown that they can also have positive ecological benefits, such as creating and maintaining a habitat hospitable to other species.” (Source: Great Britain Wildlife)

Studies will also be published into the feasibility of introducing beavers into areas such as Devon, Dorset, the Thames valley, East Anglia or the Lake District.

Next month, Natural England, the government conservation agency, will publish a study on the feasibility of reintroducing beavers in areas such as Devon, Dorset, the Thames valley, East Anglia or the Lake District.

Allan Bantick, chair of the Scottish Beaver Trial Steering Group, said it was an “historic moment” for conservation. However, not evryone agrees.


Andrew Bradford, of the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, said reintroductions in the Baltic and Bavaria had caused environmental damage: “The reality is, having reintroduced them, it will be damn difficult to stop them spreading.”  (Source: Guardian Online)

Plans For a Second Energy Saving Day?
May 29, 2008, 1:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

E-dayWith Energy Saving Day being unsuccessful earlier this year, plans could be in the pipeline for another.


‘E-day’, organised by Dr Matt Prescott, took place during 27-28th February and aimed to encourage people to switch off electrical equipment and be resourceful for the 24hour period. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful despite the large amount of organisation and backing of the national grid and major energy companies.


However, a possible new Energy Saving Day has been hinted for the future. Dr Matt Prescott said: “I am trying to work out what I would like to do with a second E-Day and to raise some core funding so that I don’t end up self-financing things again.”


“It has taken a long time for me to recover from E-Day both financially and energy-wise but I hope to be in a position to develop new ideas and projects before too much longer.”


As well as his work on Energy Saving Day, Dr Matt Prescott also frequently contributes to the BBC’s online ‘Green Room’ where he gives his views on important environmental issues.


No plans for ‘Pay as you throw’..chip and bin.
May 28, 2008, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gordon Brown has announced that there will be no near-future plans for ‘pay-as-you-throw’ bin tax. Is this a relief or a burden?

The controversial scheme that proposed the public should pay for the amount of non-recycled waste they throw away won’t happen for many years.

The idea involves computer chip devices installed into wheelie bins that calculate the weight of the rubbish inside. This is recorded and depending on the amount of rubbish, people are taxed accordingly.

This is to help reduce the amount of waste being dumped into landfills in order to meet EU landfill targets by 2020. Like those already, a handful of pilot schemes will be set up across the UK set up by local authorities.

Gordon Brown said: “This is not a national scheme. This is one or two local authorities who want to do something. They come forward, we have to approve it, and it’s got to be in the interest of the people in the country.
“After the trial we’ll see what happens but we’ve got no commitment to go any further – not at all. And it couldn’t happen for years.” (Source-BBC).

Hoever, the communities and local government secretary, Hazel Blears urged the government wanted to encourage recycling. A proper system of “incentives and rewards” is needed to encourage people to take their environmental responsibilities seriously.(Source- Guardian)

Personally, I can’t begin to realise how this thing would actually work without introducing new laws to keep this once in place. For instance, what’s to stop people from dumping their rubbish in your bin? Don’t we have enough taxes to worry already in the UK? Also, the privacy matters involved. Having computer chips in our bins just seems a little too George Orwell theory for my liking. Its well…scary.

However, something must be done to meet these landfill targets and generally I think people are too lazy to bother or even give a damn unless they are forced to- the best way is always through money costs! Nothing will be achieved if we rely on the goodness of people’s hearts…

My Animal Cruelty Slideshow

I’ve just finished uploading my ‘The everyday things in life’. Its about unecessary animal cruelty, animal neglect and how the environement is having a devastating effect on wildlife. I’ll warn you now, its not pretty.

Fuel Prices, Let Us All Have a Moan.
May 28, 2008, 6:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ian Sanderson (Getty Images)

I remember the days when the price reading on a petrol pump went up slower than the fuel gauge and I could fill my car up for thirty quid (its only a little car)! Now it’s a different story. I seem to be visiting the petrol station more than ever and disappointed that the needle has only moved a feeble inch. The fuel crisis is inevitable. Prices may rise and fall slightly but each year the average creeps up and up.


Admittedly, I do drive where I could just as easily take the bus. However, like so many others, I hate public transport. I don’t understand why, when people are being encouraged to use public transport more often, are ticket prices so expensive? If I were to travel to my student house in Birmingham from my home in Wolverhampton, it would cost around £8 and take on average an hour and a half. In my car, fuel would cost around £2.50 and it would take me 45 minutes. Plus, in my car, 5 people can make the same journey at any time. Not mentioning the unreliability, inconvenient and restricted hours of public transport. There is just no competition.


However, something has to be done. Sometimes driving is the only way, as with the transportation of heavy goods. Recently, fuel protests have gone underway by lorry drivers. The price of fuel is affecting businesses, as one driver quotes: “it now costs over a thousand pounds a week to fill up a lorry…the economy and our companies can’t cope.” (BBC)


People blame the government for fuel prices. However, people fail to recognise that fuel is becoming ever more scarce. It is logical that the more rare, in demand and harder to get something is, prices are bound to increase. Gordon Brown can’t just dig a hole in his back garden and make a new oil well for British citizens. The bottom line is that fuel isn’t going to be around for much longer and we need to find other ways to power our cars and get around. Wilful ignorance won’t get us anywhere.