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Bin Wars


Bin WarsDispatches investigates whether the nation's anger over fortnightly collections is justified, examining why the changes have been brought about and why they have resulted in a level of protest reminiscent of the petrol crisis of 2001.

Is the reduction in service necessary to improve our recycling rates as the government has claimed? Or are we facing a new threat to our health with mounting piles of rotting rubbish?

Using scientific analysis, this film provides hard facts about the bacteria breeding in our bins and investigates whether fortnightly collections are impacting on vermin populations.

Dispatches travels across the country to meet residents who are so incensed by the reduction in collections and the policing of their rubbish disposal that they are staging a variety of protests, including refusing to pay their council tax.

The film will examine the wider issues surrounding the disposal of rubbish including what happens to recyclable waste recycling rates in the UK and the reliance on landfill sites to deal with our domestic rubbish.

Ratings: 8.00/10from 2 users.

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7 Comments / User Reviews

  1. southab403

    I live in Canada and have visited England a few times (although not for many years now). I was amazed at the amount of garbage that a family produced! Most was totally recyclable paper (news print mostly), but also bottles galore. In Canada, we have an environmental fee on many of our bottles at the grocery store and liquor outlets. Our bottles, milk containers, juice tetra-packs, bottled water, etc. are refundable, in cash, if a person returns the empties to the recycling depot. England had no such thing, so there was no incentive to separate out that waste. Just "Be a good citizen" isn't enough. Pocket book incentives work.

    The waste trash for the test involved throwing copious amounts of perfectly good food away. Do people usually waste that much food? If so, why?? A garbage disposal unit in the sink and/or a compost bin would make sense. As to the stench, don't throw so much away, keep meat scraps, etc. in the freezer until garbage day, flush or rinse away as much as possible so that the water treatment plants take care of it (which they are designed to do).

    I noticed a lot of the bins were full of boxes, drink containers, etc. that could be taken apart (stomped) and made much smaller. At 33 minutes (students taking food out of packages) all the packaging could be compressed into a much smaller pile to take up way less space to alleviate the overflowing bin/bag on the street problem. Stomp things flat!!
    I liked the Danish example of "Pay as you dump". THAT would be a very good idea here as well to make people aware of just how much trash they are generating.
    Interesting film that shows the difference between what England is attempting to do (with a whole series of fight and back lash) vs what most of the first world already does. ("We have a right to strew garbage!")

  2. Roy

    Welcome to the world when liberals run it.

  3. Aaylsworth

    It seems like the UK has seen a return to it's historic problem of waste disposal and rats (like many other places). One can only hope that the citizens make a serious effort to evaluate what they purchase and the resulting amount of waste produced from that purchase. Bulk stores are a great option as they are cheaper, have great selection and one is not forced to buy too much of something, as it is sold in a set size (sugar, flour etc).

  4. Karmiccontrail

    Our food waste gets collected every week and the rest is going to take 100's of years to rot so there is not a collection problem .
    If you do have a problem then use it to see how rubbish material life is and take to spiritual life .Chant Hare Krishna.

  5. Dancing Horses

    If Britain doesn't have compost pickup (and it sounds like they don't), then garbage collection every two weeks is not appropriate, in my opinion. In my municipality, all food and garden waste is put out in their own plastic bins—not bags—marked with green stickers, and then taken away to be composted. That compost is then sold back to the citizenry at a considerable discount. I was able to fill an entire trailer with about 500lbs of compost for just $10.

  6. Kumamori

    Much of that trash is food packings. Most city people buy their meat in hard plastic packings in my country, and I think it's the same everywhere else. Think about billions of people doing that daily, weekly... the stuff will pile up. You can avoid buying bottled water easily as long as you don't get trapped in the mental images and go with the flow in that particular destructive way, but try being without meat. I know veggies, I know you can do it, but it'd be very unecological if everyone did what you do. The amount of plants in the world would be drastically reduced due to there being more wild plant-eaters and far more people consuming plants. So just be glad that we eat meat too, no offense but if you think a bit outside the box you'll see. That doesn't mean you should feel bad, just don't bash out on us please.

    The meat packing plastic waste could be drastically reduced if we produced our own meat ourselves. Home-grown chicken, pigs, rabbits, fishes, you name it! Maybe not cows, but there could of course be so-called neighborhood growing lands where people of the neighborhood have mutual land where they can grow their animals. Fresh meat is far more healthy and you'll be happy to know that your pig or cow or chicken wasn't mistreated unless there's bad apples in your neighborhood. People have done things this way for ages before we got this hygiene hystery and oil frenzy. Too much hygiene will lower your resistances, you need to expose yourself from time to time. Permaculture has the answers, it's up to people to use them or some other system that can do the job. Going on with landfills isn't what you can call productive, and why we'd need to make some people work in those gloomy (I'm a gloomy finnishman and when I say gloomy it's really, really gloomy for a normal person) packing factories when we have alternatives?

    Protesting isn't bad but you need concrete alternatives on how to make things better, and you need to start doing something for them. Else the current ways will remain.

    1. Devon Griffiths

      Actually, to provide as much meat as is being consumed (about six times more per person relative to pre-WW2 levels) you cannot simply graze it - there is not enough land. You must grow crops for those animals, and feed the crops to them. The return, in terms of calories, is about 10%.

      In other words, for every calorie of meat not consumed, you earn (or rather, save) 10 calories of food. A reduction in meat consumption, back to early 20th century levels, would mean an explosion of additional food supply.