Sunday 19 July 2015

Sheep rustling?

Things have been a bit quiet on the old blog of late. But thanks to a small, dedicated band of trusty followers (and countless, less welcome, spa**ers), the hit count has trundled through 100,000, which is something of a milestone, I guess. It's definitely not a millstone, although the whole concept does feel rather aged on some level. However, the lack of output has been more to do with mundane matters, rather than any 'end of blog life' - I've had less free time recently, due to extra work commitments and a visit by relatives.

For the past three Fridays, I have been covering the business recycling shift for a colleague, slowly morphing into Captain Cardboard as I visit local businesses to uplift their recyclable waste and transfer it to the Council's processing centre at Chinglebraes.

Chinglebraes - the name conveys something of a green and verdant setting for a children's tv programme, but it's not that sort of 'green'. Less Tellytubbies or Trumpton, more Clangers on acid, as loud metallic crashes mingle with dayglo clothing and flashing warning lights. Plastic, paper, cardboard and tins are bundled up to be shipped south for further processing, whilst glass is crushed and used within the isles as an aggregate for road surfaces (yes, really)  and the large concrete blocks that form the Churchill Barriers.

I normally start the recycling run with a workout as, at the first collection, it's not possible to park the vehicle near the waste container. This results in sprints* back and forth to the van, taking in a change in altitude and, usually, a convenient crosswind. It doesn't take long to reach 'working temperature'! There's usually a bit of contamination to deal with, too. I don't mean in a radioactive or sewage way, but somehow there'll be a single glass bottle in a bag of plastic ones, or a stray drinks can in with the paper. Education about recycling is part of the remit, I reckon, so the struggle goes on.

A few pickups are more difficult than others, perhaps due to limited public parking adjacent to 'high street' businesses or the obstacle course of machinery that is the daily life of an industrial estate. But it is heartening to be welcomed by a cheery face and a helpful hand, such that there is a palpable feeling of business community involvement in the war against waste.

Several of our business customers also contribute loose items of scrap to either our Bruckstore project (for creative play in schools) or to SteptOZe Yard (for reuse or upcycling sales). These are always much appreciated.

On a personal level, Plastic Free July continues with a definite lack of 500ml drinks bottles and sandwich bags (which is good) and one plastic cup cap (which is bad), inadvertently bought for me by a work colleague. That was a bruising brew :o(

* factually inaccurate, as 'sprints' would be a Health and Safety no-no, as well as an exaggerated description of my ambulatory speed.

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