The Other Half and I recently spent several hours sorting rubbish that accumulated in the steading building since before we bought the croft.
As we folded and bagged plastic livestock feed bags, dug out old 12v and 24v batteries, disinterred drums and bottles of oils, wood treatments and unknown liquids. collected 6V lantern batteries, numerous AA and AAA batteries, and divided metals into ferrous and non-ferrous, we thought we’d do the right thing by taking the stuff we can’t use to Aberdeenshire Council’s recycling point in the village.
It’s manned on Wednesdays and Saturdays, to take rubbish that doesn’t go in the bottle and paper recycling bins and, I presumed, to ensure the rubbish was properly sorted.
With the Land Rover loaded to the roof with detritus, I headed down to the recycling point this morning to unload.
I was in for a shock.
Yes, the metal drums of oils and transmission fluids were emptied into an oil reservoir, as was the large plastic bottle.
But the drums, the empty plastic bottle and all the smaller bottles—still containing oils—were simply thrown into a compactor.
The bottles of professional wood preservatives and herbicides followed them in.
When I asked the bloke manning the point if they could be recycled, he said “Recycled? Nae, it all goes in landfill”.
Next, the batteries.
The 12v and 24v automotive batteries did go into a crate for recycling, as the man said the lead in them is valuable, but the lantern, AA and AAA batteries were thrown into the compactor as well.
So much for the “don’t dispose of in waste bin” logos on the batteries.
Plastic feed bags? Yes, into the compactor with them as well, along with an assortment of soggy cardboard boxes.
Apparently there’s no recycling of plastic feed bags, while slightly damp cardboard has no market. (There was too much of the latter to compost as our compost and muck heaps are already well layered with paper livestock feed bags.)
I was amazed that so much waste, some of it potentially hazardous, continues to be crushed in a compactor and carted off to to landfill.
We’re constantly told about the importance of reducing the amount of landfill, warned of prosecutions for inappropriate disposal of waste and told how so many things can be recycled.
It’s largely a lie.
Instead of dumping your waste in a rubbish tip or leaving it to lie about, you take it to a recycling point so the council can dump it in a tip.
Talk about pointless.
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For the record, I couldn’t salvage the automotive batteries (none held a charge, some were damaged), I wasn’t keen on salvaging oils of unknown specification and origin, and I certainly wasn’t keeping the preservatives and herbicides with their numerous warnings. I’ll keep some of the scrap metal for re-use, while the rest will be sold.