The recent “improvement” to Oxford City Council’s kerbside rubbish collection means that we have to go to the tip more often than we used to.
As well as leaving us with our fish bones for a fortnight, they operate a sort of apartheid for both plastics and paper – some plastics good, other plastics bad, some types of paper in the blue box, some in the green box. If you guess wrong, they either leave you a patronising, officious, threatening, semi-literate sticker or they throw your box and its incorrect contents on its side in the road with the contents in the gutter.
One can put up with this to some extent – I have lived in Oxford for a long time and you get used to the idea that the only efficient part of Oxford City Council is the department which collects the council tax – but every so often it becomes necessary to drive the surplus across the city and dump it yourself.
I wonder if all the carbon generated by this was factored into the eco-calculation and whether anyone is keeping a record of the number of visits made and the quantity of material dumped by rate-payers in person. Are we doing more DIY dumping?
They certainly do not seem able to cope with the queues, which stretch out of the gate and back towards the Abingdon Road. The problem is caused by a bottle-neck at the first bend, just out of sight in the picture above, where popular bins are bunched together with little space to park. It would not take much – a little thought and just a little brain – to remedy this, but the problem has existed since the tip opened, and thought and brain are in short supply here.
So, first you queue in the road, blocking the traffic to Kennington. Then you queue up the side of the bins, with cars pulling off and back into the stream, all belching carbon monoxide as they wait. Then when you leave, you are not supposed to turn right to go back into the city – you must go left and take the long route, up onto the ring road.
Still, the six mile round trip it is worth it if it means you can get back into your house without clambering across overflowing bins and boxes, and if you are let off wondering whether any particular piece of plastic is this type of plastic or that type of plastic. It is also cheaper than a fine.
This householder was lucky. When he put the wrong things in his green box he just got them thrown into the road. I got a silly sticker.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am in favour of recycling and accept that householders should be encouraged to do their bit. Encouragement, however, requires more from Oxford City Council than this.