View Full Version : Recycling initiatives throughout the world

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Nov 5th, 2006, 09:07 PM
I'd be very interested to hear how different cities organise their recycling.
In the municipality where we live we are required to separate paper, plastic and organic matter. They organise the pickup on a door to door basis - each apartment block has different coloured wheelie bins and they have to be put out on a certain night each week. Organic and everything that doesn't fit in the other categories gets picked up twice a week, paper and plastic every fortnight (pickup every week on alternate weeks).

The reason I ask how other places recycle is that here there's a lot of resistance to this new initiative and I wondered how other places get around this. Also how do they "punish" people who don't recycle properly? Here I think they want to introduce fines for people who don't recycle as they should, but as we live in an apartment block I don't see how such a system would be workable.

Nov 5th, 2006, 09:32 PM
I think recycling in general is a good thing, but total crap the way it is organized in Germany.

We have to separate paper, plastic, organic, glass and have another bin for everything that doesn't fit into categories.
We even have to tear apart packaging that consists of different materials, such as milk cartons (aluminium/paper).

The rythm in which the bins are picked up also depends- I live in a house with 6 single flats and we've got a way too small "no category" bin that is picked up once a week though it's full after three days, the paper and plastic thing are picked up only once a month. We don't have an organic bin -I would need it!- because I live in the city centre and most single city people produce only a minor amount of organic trash.

Usually families in rural areas get an own glass bin, in the cities there are public containers.

If a bin is not seperated properly, they leave the bin as it is and the person who didn't recycle properly have to pay for it- about 50, I think.

I'm relieved every time I am in the UK where there is not that much of a recyling-mania as in Germany- the ridiculous thing is, the only things that are really recyled are glass and paper- everything else is thrown together again on the dump!!!

It makes me really angry, it's been like this in Germany for more than 10 years and it only costs a hell of a lot of money (8 of my monthly rent!) and doesn't make a difference at all.

But most listless Germany don't give a damn :mad: Still, politicians are proud and promote our recyling system everywhere :(

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:13 PM
Hey fiamma, I think it's great that your area is providing any kind of recycling.. Where I come from, recycling is a completely independant idea. Local recyclers put up bins near grocery stores and such, and it's up to you if you want to recycle or not.

I think it should be mandatory, and in an apartment building, it would not be so difficult. They would have to switch to individual cans for each appartment's waste, and shared containers for recycling. That way, if they notice recyclable goods in your waste, you could be fined.

I hope it all goes well, and maybe we'll get something going around here one day too! C-yah

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:18 PM
Over here we have a blue bin for paper, a brown bin for garden waste [cut grass, hedges, leaves etc] and an ordinary bin for other waste. Aswell as that we have a smaller container for glass, cardboard, tin, and plastic bottles.
The ordinary bin is emptied every week, smaller one once a fortnight and the others every month or so.
It's quite a job sorting out all the different things and sometimes the kitchen is a mess with bottles etc lying around but it's a small price to pay.
[Even though I have a very jaded view of the future of this planet, I still recycle!:)]

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:24 PM
That way, if they notice recyclable goods in your waste, you could be fined.

The thing is though that I recycle religiously, but some of my neighbours in the same block don't give a hoot. So I find it unfair that I might be fined for somebody else not bothering to recycle.

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:25 PM
we have a council recycling scheme in this area but i don't think they go far enough so i pay a local co-operative to take the items the council won't, i think it's worth it.

the council collect glass, plastic bottles, cans, newspaper and cardboard. the council won't take tetrapak cartons, plastic other than bottles, or garden waste, but the recycling co-operative will. it doesn't cost me that much more and it means i hardly send anything to landfill these days. it's only a small thing but it's second nature to me now - i know what you mean about the future of the planet Sandra, but it's like veganism, you have to do what you can.

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:27 PM
The thing is though that I recycle religiously, but some of my neighbours in the same block don't give a hoot. So I find it unfair that I might be fined for somebody else not bothering to recycle.

they're talking about fining people for throwing away too much rubbish here, and it's not been a very popular idea because people who can't be bothered to recycle will just dump their rubbish in someone else's bin. :rolleyes:

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:29 PM
Here people have taken to driving out of the municipality to dump their rubbish because the surrounding municipalities don't have the same scheme. So the foothills of Bologna are littered with lazy citizens' rubbish :eek:

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:37 PM
That's insane! How much harder is it to drive out of town than it is to recycle!?!?

Nov 5th, 2006, 10:46 PM
It's the mentality here - it's the lengths people are prepared to go to to show the municipality that they're against the idea. It's so sad.

Nov 5th, 2006, 11:03 PM
And the municipality thinks "Hey, the trash isn't in our yard!"

Nov 5th, 2006, 11:13 PM
No, they're not that bad :) They are the ones who implemented the scheme after all. But like pavotrouge said, I agree with recycling in theory, but I don't think they go about it the right way. Since my bf and I both work from home we generate a lot of paper, but that only gets picked up once a fortnight. Like the plastic - I try to avoid plastic packaging as much as possible but sometimes it's unavoidable. Yet the "everything else" gets picked up twice a week! So if I don't want a load of trash sitting around my house I could theoretically throw the paper and plastic in with all the other stuff. And that's what people are doing because the quantity of paper and plastic has slowly been going down while the quantity of stuff that goes into the "everything else" bin has been steadily increasing. The way they run the scheme doesn't encourage people to recycle. And they've just implemented it without really consulting people or listening to feedback. They don't seem to care about problems that could probably be solved with a little adjustment.

Nov 6th, 2006, 05:47 AM
I live just outside of Washington D.C. Recycling here is not mandatory. Metal and certain types of plastic are placed in a yellow bin. Paper products are to be put in a paper bag or tied up with twine and placed next to the bin (although many people don?t follow these instructions). The recycling is picked up once a week, on the same day as the trash. Leaves are to be bagged and get picked up on certain days in the Autumn and Spring.

Nov 6th, 2006, 11:50 AM
great thread! :)

In the town where I live, recycling isn't mandatory but it's encouraged and most people should have a special box or bag for recyclables, and in blocks of flats you get a whole wheely-bin to share for recyclables. The standard rubbish collection needs to be in plastic sacks (bin liners) and these are collected once a week. I'm not sure how often for the recycling boxes/bags, it might be fortnightly. It doesn't need to be seperated, although the bag might be for something different to the box, I'm not sure. I think it all ends up in the back of a truck together!

However my hubby and I are living in a house with our friends, and we do our own recycling. We have a set of stackable boxes, which isn't labeled but is usualy paper/cardboard/plastic/metal/glass something along those lines. And they've just been given a compost bin by someone so we shall soon be able to compost the organic matter, which I think will make a big differnce to the amount of rubbish we throw out.

Anyway, the local dump ("civic amenity and recycling centre"!) I think is quite good, it has various containers that are divided by content, and that is where we go to take our recycling, so that we can recycle most of the stuff we have collected. The exception is foil, which has a collection box at a nearby supermarket (I'm not sure if it is by a private company or a charity\NPO).

We can't recycle tetra paks, which is a shame as I go through a few of those every week, and the other rubbish I tend to throw out is packaging that is unrecyclable. Often though I try to avoid buying things that have excess unrecyclable packaging if I can.

As for initiatives - I think the local council has an interest in recycling, I think it has government targets to meet or just wants to look good for being better than other councils..! At events and sometimes just stalls at supermarkets I have seen a recycling stand from the council, where you can go and ask about the recycling services, they have leaflets with the details and often give out cotton shopper bags (I have about three now! :D ). I think you can easily contact the council by phone or email to ask about recycling and there is information on the council's website too. I think they sometimes advertise in the weekly town newspaper, and there has been a competition on where you could win 50 for getting a neighbour to start recycling.

Nov 6th, 2006, 01:04 PM
I live in Wandsworth, London. Originally we had to take stuff for recycling to the rubbish dump or other collecting points. Then a few years ago they introduced a scheme where they would collect it if we put it in separate bags for metal, glass and paper. Now we put all three (plus plastic bottles) in a single bag and some lucky person presumably sorts it at the depot.

I think the change to one type of bag was because not many people could be bothered with three. We didn't find it too bad - we just had three small bins.

It's optional here and recycling rates are still relatively low. Making it compulsory is not a bad idea as long as councils aren't too heavy-handed about it (like this council was :rolleyes: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/news/2006/11nov/061103app.shtml)

Nov 7th, 2006, 07:01 PM
We have a mandatory recycling and composting system. The recycling program seems to be working good but the composting is sh#t and should be done with, IMO.

Our recyclables are divided in two.
1) Paper products
2) Cans, plastics (#1-5), tetra packaging (milk cartons, juice boxes) and container glass

They are to go in blue plastic bags and are collected every month. If your bags aren't sorted properly, your bags are not picked up.

Our composting is sort of annoying. All soiled paper products, food, and other organic materials go into our compost bin (green bin). It gets collected every second week. This compost material then goes to the composting plant to be turned into compost and sold to farmers. Sounds like a great plan, doesn't it? Not really.

Although this composting sytem works well for households, it's a nightmare for businesses and restaurants. They can't control what their customers do. And they aren't about to sort through their piles of compost to find a plastic straw or piece of glass. It would be impossible! So it all goes to the composting plant. As a result, there's plastic, glass, and other impurities in our compost. Farmers do not want to buy it and I don't blame them.

All other garbage is labelled "waste" and put into a black bin. It gets collected every second week. Things that are "waste" include broken plates/cups/ceramics, toys, plastic wrap and other plastics #6 and #7, dryer lint, blah blah blah.

In my opinion, household compost should continue to be collected but just drop collecting compost from restaurants and businesses.

As for fines, your garbage doesn't get collected. You eventually get a monetary fine, but it's nothing for big companies (just pennies to them).

Nov 7th, 2006, 08:52 PM
i don't know if anywhere in the UK takes kitchen waste for composting at the moment. i think it's probably quite a risk for hygiene and so on. some places will collect garden waste - in the area where my parents live it's included in their taxes. but i have to pay extra to the local recycling group (they're not connected to the local authority). there have been suggestions of local community compost heaps for people with small/no gardens, but i don't think it'll ever happen.

Jun 16th, 2007, 09:10 PM
The council brought us some recycling bins yesterday morning for plastic, glass, tin and aluminium. I'm so pleased about this as I drink gallons of bottled water and I have to go out of my way to drop the plastic bottles in the recycling bin so this new scheme will save me a job. I've noticed that a few of my neighbours new bins are still in front of their houses so I suspect this is some kind of protest as they never leave the ordinary bins out. I'm sick of people complaining about having to recycle. IMO they should have to pay higher council tax if they don't. Hopefully the council have already thought about this. This is what it says in the leaflet that came with the bin:

Your blue bin is fitted with an electronic chip underneath the lip of the lid which will carry information about which adddess the bin belongs to. This will help to reduce lost or stolen bins as well as providing us with more accurate information about which households are taking part in recycling and those that are not. This information will help us to plan our awareness raising campaigns and improve how we provide our services to you.

Each time your bin is emptied the chip will be read by electronic reading equipment installed on our collection trucks. The electronic chip only contains your address, it will not weigh, record or video the contents of your bin and we will not use this information to impose any fines or charges

Hmmmm :cool:

Jun 16th, 2007, 09:23 PM
I'm sick of people complaining about having to recycle. IMO they should have to pay higher council tax if they don't. Hopefully the council have already thought about this.

I totally agree, and I'm also sick of hearing about people whinging about twice weekly collections causing rat infestations. If people are getting rats then they aren't storing their rubbish properly so should buy more bins and/or recycle more so they aren't leaving out overflowing bins and plastic bags full of rubbish that are easy to get in to.

Jun 16th, 2007, 09:31 PM
If people are getting rats then they aren't storing their rubbish properly so should buy more bins and/or recycle more so they aren't leaving out overflowing bins and plastic bags full of rubbish that are easy to get in to.Absolutely!! These new bins are only being collected every 4 weeks so I'm just waiting for folk to kick off :D

I will have way less rubbish now as most of it is recyclable, except for the guinea pig bedding. Does anyone know if this can be composted? Its hay and wood shavings with lots of poop and pee.

Jun 16th, 2007, 09:34 PM
I'm pretty sure it all can, poop and pee is ok as long as it's from veggie animals and wood and hay are just plant matter. I think pee actually helps composting.

Jun 16th, 2007, 09:53 PM
I'm sure I still don't do enough recycling but everything I buy that is processed comes in so much packaging.
I do recycle glass bottles and jars but I'm not sure what else I'm suppose to be doing. I ordered a compost bin from council but I must be dumb because I don't know how to use it. :o

I have about one black bag and 2 orange bags a week which is probably way too much.

I heard on the news that people might be fined for having too much rubbish but where I live people just dump orange and black bags of rubbish on any public green spaces already so I really don't think this will work (unless the motive is to get more tax pay from people?)

Jun 17th, 2007, 01:19 AM
I ordered a compost bin from council but I must be dumb because I don't know how to use it.

What's the prob, anything we can help with? I've just got a new one and am full of composting enthusiasm.

where I live people just dump orange and black bags of rubbish on any public green spaces already so I really don't think this will work

Yes, some of our neighbours are inclined to sling stuff on to the railway embankment as it is :rolleyes:

Jun 17th, 2007, 08:56 AM
Harpy - I know what you can and can't put in compost but when I first put the bin out in my back garden the weather was quite windy and it blew across garden and I thought the insides of it would have been strewn across garden if it had been full of anything?
Are you supposed to weigh it down with something?

Also I eat a lot of food! ... and I wasn't sure how quickly things break down and where you were supposed to put stuff after it has been composted?
My garden is really small and I wasn't sure, do you just put it on flower beds when it has been composted?

As you can tell I am not really green fingered and I wasn't sure if my garden was too small to do composting effectively?

Jun 17th, 2007, 09:05 AM
Masie I recycle the guinea bedding of paper and hay - papers go in the paper box and i tip the hay and droppings in the green bin - did ask the bin people they said it was fine. Its only the very worst soggy rabbit papers i occasionaly put in grey bin in a bag, but for most of summer bunnykins is out on the lawn in his run all day/eve so less mess!

Told me to double bag any dog doings and put in grey household bin

We get a collection every other week and people still moan round here and put extra bags out:rolleyes: