Bin day blues: Six months in suburbia and I'm still baffled by the recycling rules

After 15 years living in a flat with one giant, smelly communal bin for six households, adapting to life in suburbia has been a challenge - particularly when it comes to the bins.

Friday, 18th February 2022, 2:39 pm

We have four, consisting of mair colours than Joseph had on his not-really-that-amazing technicolour dreamcoat.

And then there’s that daft wee brown bucket for scraps and slops which stinks every bit as badly as the sludge at the bottom of the big metal container.

I still have no idea what goes where, let alone which bin goes out on which day.

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We’ve been in our wee hoose for several months now and, without fail, one conversation goes round in a loop.

Other Half: That doesn’t go in that bin.

Me: But it’s plastic.

OH: Did you read the label?Me: No - the writing is so tiny no-one under 50 has a hope in hell of reading it.

OH: Did you check which bits can be binned?Me: No, I just chucked it in, It’s rubbish. That’s a rubbish bin.

OH: Argh…

So, I now know that some cartons which look like they should be binned in fact can’t be - or come with a less than handy ‘not yet recyclable’ message or, even more vague ‘please consult your local rules.’I also know that just binning things wrongly is now a crime somewhere between knocking old ladies to the pavement and nicking their handbags, and supporting Dunfermline Athletic.

For a start, ready meal containers have to be scrubbed clean of any bits of food.

Frankly, it’d take a industrial blow torch to get the crusty bits off the sides of some of the food which goes ping in our microwave.

The stuff has more sticking power than Super Glue - or Weetabix left overnight in a cereal bowl.

I feel as thought I need to don L-plates every time I step into the kitchen.A lifetime of shoving pretty much everything into one communal bin has been replaced by the sort of test which made me such a dunce in the maths class: “If Allan has three ready meal cartons, a litre of milk, and three envelopes with plastic windows in them, how many bins should he use - and how many attempts will it take before he gives up, shoves them all in the ’general rubbish’ one and hope he doesn’t get caught?”

I’m looking forward to this new nirvana where our stack of bins - and yes, they all have big sticky labels as if I’m a toddler in need of simple instructions – can be filled without recourse to squinting to read the small print on the back of the packaging. I’m already wondering what to do with the extra hours I will now get back in my life!

Maybe I’ll put them to good use finally learning which bins go out and when.

That’s another mystery of suburbia that has yet to be fully understood.

If the neighbours go green, so do I - but the day I pout a bin out first it will be chaos. Utter chaos.

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