Alternate Weekly (Waste) Collection: Has It Been Explained?
AWC (Alternate Weekly Collection of recyclable and non-recyclable household waste) has a bad reception in the UK, although it increases the extent of recycling. But why is something designed to sustain our environment – an ambition held by most of us – producing such hostility?
Latest in the endless list of Things People Don’t Like is the idea of alternate weekly collection of recyclable and non-recyclable domestic waste. There is evidence that this is effective in getting people to think more carefully about what they can and cannot recycle (rather than just bunging the lot in the dustbin) but everyone seems to be in uproar about it.
‘Why?’ is always a complex question to answer in environmental matters. What seems self-evidently sensible to the scientists and policy-makers (not to mention the demanding officials of the European Union, who are rightly leading a very serious environmentally conscious charge) is far less evident to Mr & Mrs Suburbia or Mr & Mrs InnerCity. The dialogue has got lost on the way, or perhaps has simply never existed.
People suspect that the bi-weekly collection of their ‘normal’ waste, even though it is to be interspersed by alternate weekly collection of what’s recyclable, is actually the result of a financial ‘cut’, and that it must therefore be bad. No-one seems to have thought to explain that there’s good evidence that AWC increases recycling – albeit at contested levels of efficacy.
Cynicism is the only winner
So there is Big Fuss. Nobody seems to believe something could be being done for ‘good’ reasons; and in that local politicians have often not helped. This situation benefits no-one.
The sooner the powers-that-be learn they must share rationales with ‘ordinary’ people right from the start of their thinking, the better. This is an issue which goes beyond what used to be called the ‘public understanding of science’, to an even more pressing
issue – the sustainability of our planet.
So let’s ask our media, policy-makers and politicans to be braver and more honest in how they present these things. It would be good for everyone.
Read the debate which follows then…