What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

What a lot of rubbish

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Nicola (the pic is taken in Carlisle)

Now that recycling is a part of most people's psyche - or at least with the weekly doorstep collections in London where we live there's no excuse for it not to be - it comes as a HORRIBLE shock to discover how terrible recycling collections are in some parts of the country still.

Obviously reusing is the best option, but lots of people don't seem to have even got recycling...

After the hottest day on record this year (26 degrees) most of the campers crowding Loch Lomond, now a national park, seemed to drive home leaving their rubbish behind. On just one small bay I picked up SIX bags of rubbish, including disposable BBQs, full tins of beans and packets of bacon. As there's no recycling down the long, winding lane to Rowardenan all this gets dumped in landfill. No Australian or Kiwi would do this - in the USA national parks visitors even tupperware their poo out.

It was a relief to find that mountain walkers don't seem to dump litter in the same way - on Skiddaw I found just one sweetie wrapper (yes, I picked it up) and Pete says Ben Lomond was litter free.

Wherever we've gone it's been hard to get rid of the rubbish we've collected. In Argyll & Bute - an area the size of Greater London - the supermarket at Oban has a couple of recycling bins and at Dalmally there are three bottle banks (for clear, green and brown glass) beside cattle crushes that have been unused for so long they have sprouted foxgloves. In the district of Stirling there were no alumnium recycling spots for visitors, cans can only be recycled in the domestic collections. This is mystifying as Scotland has millions of visitors who'll be struggling to get rid of their drinks' containers responsibly.

Further south, in the Lake District, Cockermouth town council allegedly plans to close one of its public glass recycling spots because it's inconvenincing mums on the school run (this sounds so crazy I wonder if I read it right).

None of the big train/bus stations we've been through - Euston, Glasgow, Workington (though it holds the record for being the first UK-purpose built bus station with covered roof!), or Carlisle have recycling facilities either for water bottles or coke cans.

If you are unlucky enough to live in a place where you still struggle to recycle you could try contacting your local Friends of the Earth group http://www.foe.co.uk/ which is sure to be up on what you can do to help sort it out.

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