Recycling should be a circle

I’ve been sent the ‘save our recycling bin’ email petition that Joshua mentioned below from several people so far.  Like him I’m not convinced it’s all that instantly simple.

While it’s nice to stick all our recycling in a free box and have it taken away for us, never to think about again, it’s not very sustainable if there is no viable place for all those recyclable goods to go.   The fact that the boxes are mostly free means all people are doing is sorting then throwing out their recycling as though it were rubbish, rather than reducing and reusing.

While I don’t like the idea of plastic bags for recycling I do think the concept of paying to recycle is not an unrealistic one (and also that the current boxes are not really that sensible anyway for windy Wellington hilltops).

We should recognize that recycling has a cost associated with it – especially if it involves shipping our bottles and plastic to Asia. While it is a better alternative than land-filling it is still mostly a symptom of unsustainable consumption (at least the way we in Wellington do it).

Recycling should be about closing a circle but it feels that the green bins we currently have a too much about allowing people to feel like they are doing the right thing rather than facilitating real change in our consumption habits.

I’m willing to give the City Council a chance to try something new on this issue because I don’t reckon the current system works.

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5 thoughts on “Recycling should be a circle

  1. Steve, the problem is not that they’re making people pay at all to recycle, the problem is essentially that this is happening without wider methods to discourage people from sending waste to landfill, and that they’re insisting we waste plastic bags to do it.

    If they wanted us to sticker our bins to be sure we’d paid, that would be fine and would be one less wasteful way of managing such a scheme, assuming they also discouraged just throwing out your recycling.

  2. On a related note, does anybody know what is happening to our recycling now that the market for recycled commodities has dropped (like basically all commodities)? Is it just piling up in China, out of sight and mind?

  3. Hello, I’m Nicole from ecofreek.com – a search
    engine for free and swap items. Our mission is to provide a
    means for people to find items they need while reducing
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    We would much appreciate a review of our site or any
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    Nicole Boivin
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  4. I bought myself a plastic bag from Countdown years ago and have a couple of GreenPeace cloth bags, though these days I use the current bag type. I think we should set up a reprocessing industry here in NZ and the fact that it is unlikely to be financially sustainable is simply a red herring to distract us. We shouldn’t waste earth resources in sending it around the world and the subsidy to keep the places going, there should be one in every major city, should be a charge on the makers or importers of plastic enclosed goods.

  5. It would help if all these plastic containers littered around the place and in the sea were worth at least 10c to the person taking it to a recycling outfit suggested above.

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