Sifting through the garbage


What have you been up to this Saturday morning? (Before you set off for the Zimbabwe freedom movement march of course.)

Is it possible that you went to the recycling bin with a weeks worth of washed out wine bottles and a bag full of sorrel-tinged proto-compost? Excellent! You really are a good little Guardian-reader aren’t you?

If you feel at home in the bourgeois-kitsch world of the Sunday supplements you might enjoy visiting Junkk.com

Amongst the free stuff available at the site are a rucksack made from an old vacuum cleaner, and some natty dumb-bells which were once hot-chocolate containers.

Junkk.com is the latest idea from ex advertising executive Peter Martin, whose clients once included Microsoft and MTV (so if anybody has a pedigree in the junk-peddling business he’s your man.) You can pick up all this designer tat at The British Invention Show, at Alexandra Palace, London from Oct. 18-21 where Junkk.com will have a stall – just don’t lose sight of your coffee cup or someone may cover it in sticky-back plastic and flog it back to you as an
”Easter Bunny Doorknob Hanger”

The above may sound like Viz meeting Blue Peter at the Hampstead centre for Trustafarian co-operation and soul-healing, but with England producing about 25.7 million tonnes of household waste a year , recycling rather than landfilling or incineration is now a very serious issue indeed.

Defra say that we managed to recycle or compost 27 per cent of household waste in 2005-6, a four per cent year-on-year rise which has raised the amount of rubbish recycled above the government’s target rate of 25 per cent.

The East Midlands did best, Eastern England and the South West not at all badly and London was much the worst of the regions, recycling 21% of household waste on average.

All Scottish councils have some form of recycling policy, but three local authorities in Scotland are the first councils in the UK to be confirmed as failing their targets under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme. On the plus side, the first house in the UK to be built using recycled car tyres is currently under construction in the Highlands.

Ben Bradshaw, local environment quality minister, says: Businesses, government and individuals all have a responsibility to create less waste and recycle more for the sake of our environment and future generations.

But what do you actually recycle? And how can those of us who produce a several bags worth of baked bean tins, cat litter and used nappies (look, it’s hobby ok – these are enlightened times,) be persuaded to recycle more?

I am genuinely interested in the different recycling schemes run by local councils and how they impact on the public. Do you by chance have anything to say on the subject?