Friday, 22 April 2016


It’s Earth Day again. What to say about it other than we shouldn't really need it though? I guess it’d be very easy to rubbish the idea given that we’ve probably left it way to late to completely put it right. But I still take out my rubbish and divide it into paper, glass, plastic, green and food waste. It’s a chore, but it’s become a habit, part of my daily existence.

I often wonder where my wine bottles go and what about all that cardboard and free newspapers? I’ve read that all of the newsprint in the UK is now made from recycled paper and that my wine bottles are made into new wine bottles (which seems pretty pointless to me). We export a lot of our other recycling materials all the way to China by sea in containers and they make it into things that they then package and export back to us.

Even so, just where does all the rubbish come from? It seems that my bins are continually full, except on bin day. In less than two hours, the waste the UK produces would fill the Albert Hall, every eight months it would fill Lake Windermere. On average, each person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks (ten in my case). Interesting statistics, but why don’t we tackle it at source and rather than recycling not create all this needless shit in the first place?

Every year we produce about 3% more waste than the year before. That might not sound a lot but, if we carry on at that rate, it means that we’ll double the amount of waste we produce every 25 years and double the amount of waste means double the bins. Where am I going to put them all? When I was a kid we had just one tiny metal dustbin. Can you imagine that today? It’d be full in an afternoon.

We produce and use twenty times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago and from personal experience I can see how easily true that is. When did you last bring home your eggs in a paper bag or buy your meat wrapped up in bloody paper? And don’t get me started on disposable nappies or junk mail. I don’t remember junk mail coming through the letterbox back in my childhood and disposable nappies- just what were they then?

How did we get here? When did packaging and presentation become so vitally important to all our lives? Christmas is the most rubbishy time of the year. So great is or need in the UK for cards and elaborately wrapped gifts with ribbons and bows that each and every Christmas we throw away over 226,800 miles of wrapping paper. That’s enough jolly snowmen and smiling Santa’s to stretch nine times around the world!

Yes, I know I’m a grumpy old man but recycling just isn’t enough, we really do need to stop creating so much rubbish in the first place.

And that is my thought this Earth Day.


  1. Margaret Hamilton-Jones26 April 2016 at 11:59

    Reminds me of dear old Ted Rogers, gold bless him or god save him more like ! I'd live another twenty years if I could get back the time I spent in meetings at ATV over that pesky Bin. "No Ted it can't be animated - its part of the show" "No Ted, the only way it can steered is if a dwarf was placed inside it and before you even ask Ted - NO!" "Ted, its made of plastic, its not looking at you funny!!" Blessed old Paranoid, drunken Ted