Did you have a great Christmas? We did in our family, a time of year when everyone gets together – parents, children, siblings, cousins – to simply enjoy each others’ company in a relaxed atmosphere.
Plenty to eat and drink, lots of great conversations, and the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts.
There is a dark side, though – packaging and waste.
We’re probably typical among many families in the UK in that we now have a few boxes and bags full of the packaging left over after you unwrap your gifts. Boxes, cartons, paper, that sort of thing.
We recycle all such stuff, and the local council does a pretty good job with kerbside recycling programmes.
But a lot of the stuff, especially plastic, won’t get picked up in the next recycling collection next week as it mostly can’t be recycled, so I’ll be making a trip to the council’s waste centre to dump it. I have no other choice really.
A small personal concern about disposing of such waste becomes more alarming if you expand it to look at what happens nationally.
Britain will discard more waste this Christmas than ever before, with an estimated three million tons of rubbish – a tenth of the annual total – accumulated over the next few days.
Barely a quarter of jettisoned goods, packaging and uneaten food is likely to be recycled, with the rest incinerated – spewing pollution into the atmosphere – or dumped in landfill sites where heavy metals can seep into the ground. The European Union has become so exasperated with the Government’s failure to improve recycling that it has threatened legal action. The row centres on repeated delays to the introduction of the EU waste electrical and electronic equipment directive, which would cut dumping of televisions, computers and other electrical goods.
While each one of us can exercise personal responsibility regarding disposing of packaging and unwanted products, it’s down to the government to make the processes simple, easy and effective.
Surely it is as simple as that. Isn’t it?