Thursday, 26 February 2009

Cleanest & Greenest?...I Don't Think So.

As a business the tartist and I (unlike domestic households) have to pay for our refuse collection in addition to our already substantial business rates. Now, we have an 1,100 litre wheelie bin at both of our cafés these cost us £10.90 per week to empty plus £3.30 hire charge. This equates to £738.40 per café, per annum. In addition to this we are required to sign a 'duty of care certificate' (usually just an A4 photocopy) and for this we get charged £30.90 per premises. A total cost of £1,538.60 per year... I guess what we're doing in effect is purchasing 1,100 litres of landfill per week for each café.

Until recently (approx. 18 months ago) all our cardboard was collected along with the other businesses in Church Road from the kerbside each Tuesday morning. As for all our glass bottles, I was dutifully carrying several boxes of these to our local re-cycling point each week until we opened our second café and it became too much for me to handle.

Now, around this time (Jan. 2007) we were informed with a letter from Colchester Borough Council that our cardboard would be an 'additional' collection at £556.20 per year, completely knocking our cardboard re-cycling on the head so to speak. When we enquired about glass bottle/can re-cycling we were simply astounded by the reply...there is no facility for re-cycling bottles and cans from businesses by Colchester Borough Council. Even if we wanted to pay handsomely for this service they simply wont do it! We are are relatively small business in the scheme of things so, imagine all the pubs, clubs, cafés etc. around the Colchester Borough having paid for their 1.100 ltrs and having nowhere to put their bottles and cans. What would you do? My guess is like us, having paid such a premium for the wheelie bin, you'd stick the bottles and cans in with the rest.
In the end when it comes to running a business it simply makes economic sense to fill up the bin doesn't it?

As a householder I've been an enthusiastic re-cycler for years and I suspect like me, most other householders who do their bit each week at the kerbside will be horrified to learn that Colchester Borough Council's setup for re-cycling is so lamentably inadequate at present. We could all be forgiven for thinking 'where is the point?'

It seems ironic to me that on many of the lorries the slogan reads 'cleanest and greenest' and I suppose what I would like to see is adequate collection of re-cyclable materials from Colchester's businesses by the Borough Council because the present setup is causing tonnes and tonnes to go unecessarily to land-fill, which according to 'The draft joint municipal waste management strategy for Essex 2007 - 2032' will be full up by 2017!

Waste management is an enormous business and it seems strange to me that our council simply can't or won't do what the private firms do quite profitably.

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