Recycling – Do we have to Do It?

Recycling is important to the environment

Recycling – Do we have to Do It?

Saturday morning and I’ve put out our five bins for waste collection and recycling which reminded me  that at my Councillor surgery this week I was informed by a resident that

“I’m fed up of rubbish being left and my recycling boxes being thrown around and damaged on collection days so I’ve stopped and now put everything in the black bins”,

the next question from other residents present was

“can you do that”?

To be honest I didn’t know the answer and like everyone else had heard of residents in other towns who had been taken to court and fined for not recycling.

As it turns out there is no legal requirement and it isn’t compulsory for people in Northampton to recycle and there are no sanctions that can be taken against those residents who decide they’ve had enough and choose to just throw everything into one fortnightly collected bin.

So why recycle?

There are of course the environmental benefits of recycling which are self-explanatory, have been well argued and I believe should be supported.

There is the additional savings to the taxpayer of reducing the amount of rubbish that is sent to landfill and in Northampton there is the problem of what happens to the Environmental Services Contract if large numbers of people decided to revert to not recycling?

Clearly the economic benefits of the  Enterprise Contract to Northampton Borough Council taxpayers depends on recycling and the ability of the company to sell on the collected waste and make a profit which would be jeopardised if people stopped recycling.

Would the contract which is initially for seven years then fail or would the Borough Council have to make up the financial shortfall in the Enterprise contract?

I’m sure those who are monitoring the contract on behalf of the taxpayer will know the answer, but the question of what happens if high numbers of people decide that they’re not happy with the service and are not going to take part but leave it to the Enterprise staff to sort the recyclable items from their rubbish is an intriguing one.

What is very clear is that it would create a major problem and I for one hope it doesn’t catch on and that people carry on recycling.