We've decided to try and go green. We haven't been doing enough for our planet and the time has come to take stock of what we are doing and whether or not we are being a positive or negative contributor. At the moment it looks like we're not doing enough at all.
Without doubt our primary motive in this move is based on guilt. Relentless scenes of polar bears balancing on ice cubes smaller than those in my ice-bucket and pictures of the thick fug over China reinforce the idea that man is being profligate with his resources and that Judgement Day is looming. We, collectively, are in trouble.
So what can we do? I've tried to introduce low energy lamps in all appropriate places. I learnt the hard way that they don't work with dimmers. We have turned down the thermostat, upgraded the valves on the letting room radiators and we are prudent with our use of the glasswasher and dishwasher. But the biggest obstacle is the recycling.
Currently we, illegally, use a blue council bin to sneak out some of our recyclable paper and cardboard. I'm sure we'll get into trouble over this. But it is largely the council who demand we recycle and have introduced controversial two-weekly residential rubbish collections. They are keen to ensure residents are seen to do their bit. (But why won't they put the dates collections occur on each street on their website?)
So where does this leave the commercial business? The licensees in their mixed herediment (home and business in one), even though they pay council tax on their flat and separate business rates on the pub, still don't qualify for a bin collection. Can they take advantage of the council's initiative? No. Even though I suspect the majority of glass we receive is disposed of in landfill sites and would be relatively easy to collect.
There is no joined-up thinking in this recycling malarkey. We want to do our bit but at what cost? I've made enquiries and it will cost us an extra £11 or £12 per week for separate bins, more than 50 per cent on top of what we pay at present. Is our conscience worth that much extra? No, not for an extra £600 a year.
I reckon those polar bears better get used to more swimming.