Recycling and Little Minds

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The government has clearly gone mad.  That's to say it's given in to activist civil servants and let them have their way over recycling (and probably much else besides).  Back in 2021, Defra ran a consultation about recycling consistency.  It said:

"Increasing consistency in recycling will reduce confusion in the materials that can be collected for recycling at kerbside. Following on from the 2019 consultation, this consultation details specific policy proposals for increasing consistency in recycling collected from households, businesses and other organisations. We want to know what you think about the materials included in each recyclable waste stream, exemptions, statutory guidance and transition timelines for local authorities and businesses. We are also seeking views on other areas of the policy to enable recycling consistency to be implemented successfully."

Now its reported that in order to get this consistency Defra is going to demand uniformity.  The Times reports that:

"The plans will see most homes having one bin with waste destined for landfill and incineration, a second for dry recyclable waste such as cardboard and plastic, and a third for organic material such as food waste. Metal, glass, plastic, paper and card, food waste and garden waste are the seven waste streams that people will consistently be able to recycle from home."

So whether you're in Maidenhead or Manchester, Preston or Penrith, Derby or Doncaster, you'll know where you are.  This was the original public rationale * for the national curriculum; ie, you could move from one place to another and be able to carry on learning / studying without missing a lesson.  It was nonsense, but Kenneth Baker liked it.

Apparently, "inconsistency across the country is a real issue that causes confusion for residents and holds back higher recycling rates".  This is, if you'll pardon the pun, is not just rubbish, but, to quote Reggie Perrin, it's absolute and utter rubbish.

I'm happily quartered safely in Wiltshire where the Council does a pretty good recycling job and wins prizes.  I have no need to be the same as – or even know – what goes in Hackney, Sunderland or Torquay and so will never be confused by any inconsistency.

This is some bureaucrat's tidy mind with a bit of groupthink tossed in for good measure.  It will be a disaster and will cost a fortune.  But it will be consistent.  You'll recall, however, that Emerson said the last word about this:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.".


* The real national curriculum rationale was DfE control, of course.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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