Although currently only in the consultation stages, if the proposals come to fruition, Croydon will be joining around one third of London's borough in taking action against those who refuse to recycle. The facilities are provided for a reason - it costs around £30 to recycle a tonne of waste, yet sending it to landfill costs in excess of £100 for the same amount.
If the policy is approved the Council's waste and enforcement team will be given the job of policing it, which will involve issuing a warning in the first instance. If Croydon residents continue to ignore the recycling requirements then the team will visit and provide a recycling tutorial. Only after all these attempts to enforce the policy would a penalty notice be issued.
The Council is at pains to point out that these measures are for the benefit of the majority of residents who are environmentally aware and comply with the town's recycling procedures. There will be no penalty for oversight or error, a stray tin can or newspaper in the wrong bin. However, there are persistent 'offenders' in Croydon and across the UK who make no attempt to recycle whatsoever, and these households are costing potentially huge amounts of money which could be utilised for other public costs and services.
Yes, it may sometimes seem like a nuisance, not being able to just 'black bag' everything and shove it in the wheelie bin. You might even think this is just another 'excuse' for us to swell the Council coffers. But the effects of not recycling would impact not just on ourselves and our immediate environment, but on our children, grandchildren and many generations beyond. And the benefits of saving significant sums which can otherwise be invested into our public spaces and public facilities will also be carried into the future.
The Council's website offers a host of advice and information regarding just how we cannot just recycle effectively, but perhaps more importantly, how we can reduce the amount of waste we produce. Simple things like choosing products that have less packaging when shopping; only this morning I purchased a birthday card, already wrapped in cellophane, which was subsequently put in a paper bag and handed to me - I immediately handed the paper bag back and put the card in my handbag, simples!
Composting your food waste is not only good for the environment – it's great for your garden too. The Council can help as it promotes reduced price compost bins and advice on composting.
Before you throw something away, make sure you can't donate it, re-use it or make money from it. Plastic takeaway cartons and margarine tubs mean you don't need to buy freezer tubs. It's cheaper to get your printer cartridges re-filled than buy new ones. Charities always welcome quality unwanted goods from clothes to books and furnishings. Car boot sales are just one great big recycling fest really! And there's money to be had via the internet for those old mobile phones.
The Council's proposals may not look too inviting at first glance, but the common sense and logic is there, as are the resources to help you.
You can find more details on this issue at the Croydon Council website.