CHARLES GRAHAM - Recycling policies are cancelling each other out

I GOT a caddy this week.

Not a plus-fours-wearing golf factotum I hasten to add, but yet another plastic container in which to dispose of household waste.

Some of you may already have one as Wigan Council continues to roll out its ambitious recycling programme, and while it is a bit of a nuisance to have another container cluttering up the kitchen (this one’s a small one for food waste that you then decant into your big green bin outside), it’s good to know that we have the chance to do yet a little bit more for the environment.

However, there was an article in the Post this week about certain residents in Leigh who appear to have been less willing to embrace recycling.

Since Christmas the emptying of brown bins (for glass, plastic and tins) has been patchy to say the least because some householders have been putting any old rubbish in them and the binmen have therefore left them unemptied.

But this has then become a hygiene problem for everyone, with overstuffed and overturned bins defiling the street and even rats being spotted.

The matter has now, thankfully, been sorted and while the council should have acted sooner, the real blame lies at the door of those who simply can’t be bothered to sort out their own rubbish.

I don’t think it is too much to ask and perfectly reasonable for the local authority to expect residents to take this minor responsibility seriously.

But before you think I am going to give the council’s recycling policy my full backing, I should add that I made my first trip to the Kirkless tip site at Ince the other day.

Nothing wrong with the centre itself, just the length of time it took me to get there.

Living in Orrell, I had put the journey off for weeks. But when I had a broken microwave to add to the bust telly, I could delay no longer.

Before this year it would have been the simplest of errands: just nipping half a mile to the handily-located recycling centre on Orrell Road.

But of course the council, in its wisdom, decided that the borough could manage without it and now Kirkless is the nearest port of call for all those of us living in that part of the borough.

Those upset at this position have also been reminded that we shouldn’t really be needing recycling centres very often now we have all these different coloured bins, although I’m not sure what the binmen’s reaction would be if I tried squeezing the aforementioned TV and kitchen appliance into my black bin (nor the public reaction if they closed down any more centres).

And as I sat in several traffic jams with the engine belching out fumes during my 12-mile round trip to deposit these two modestly-sized items, I very much felt a victim of our target culture.

It’s all very well the council’s hitting its goals in order not to be stung with fines and taxes, but if part of its plan is to force me to make long, polluting journeys that weren’t previously necessary, then it is doing nothing for Wigan’s overall carbon footprint.