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.