Nicola & Pete plus daughters Lola, now 9 and Nell, now 7, spent last year exploring Britain in a carbon-light manner. Our spring 2008 challenge is to give up waste from 24 March to 24 April. Most posts are by Nicola (as it was her silly idea). This is how it’s going:
For the past year we’ve been collecting Tetra-pak cartons (see pic of my crammed cycle panniers) so that we can take them to Islington’s grand dump – which promises that it can even deal with Tetra-pak. As I cycled towards the waste centre (which spreads between Holloway and Caledonia Roads and is boxed in by a railway edged by social housing) a security guard waved me over and explained that even with my hard hat and hi-vis jacket it wasn’t OK for me to go into the main collecting chamber. Health and safety you understand.
Tetra-pak is a complex mix of aluminum and plastics, which in theory can be melted down and re-used. However most people dump it now that you are no longer able to print out labels and send back to the factory. A few boroughs have arranged to collect it but the sites are extremely limited, hence today’s mission to the Islington Recycling Centre.
Reluctantly I put six yellow pages/phone directories and two bike pannier bags of Tetra-paks into the temporary recycling skip by his hut, hoping that Islington really does sort through the stray pedestrian and cyclists’ bin.
I’d have been more bad tempered about this if the security guard hadn’t mistaken me for a student (it’s easy to please me!) or there wasn’t such a steep ramp up to the recycling area which I’d been obliged to avoid.
Verdict: cyclists have it easy. Car drivers have to do their own sorting.