And Then There Were Three

wheelie binWhen we lived in Walthamstow, the recycling scheme was clear and simple. We had a single green plastic container into which all material was deposited – plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminium cans – the entire kit and caboodle. I called it my ‘save the world box’ and it was emptied weekly. Four years on and the whole recycling malarkey has got a lot more serious. We now have a black wheelie bin for general household refuse and a light green wheelie bin for recycling except for kitchen waste that goes in a little black box, garden waste that is chucked into a beige sack and glass which goes into a dark green box. The latter, in particular, requires the strength of two butch lads to lug and tip. Our little back yard, with its random collection of multi-sized containers, could be entered into the Turner Prize to represent the municipal oppression of the common man.

Our general rubbish and recycling is collected on alternate weeks. This came as quite a shock after the twice daily tours by Bodrum bin men. At my advanced age, the new regime takes some mental acrobatics to remember what week is which. I’ve taken to sticking post-it notes on the multi-point.  Nevertheless, we do our bit. Sometimes though, the city council don’t do theirs and sometimes, they serve up an embarrassment of riches. Three times now, our recycling has been left to rot by the wayside. Our refuse was refused. Then we were suddenly hit by the mysterious case of the stolen wheelie. I looked out the window. It was gone. I looked up and down the street. It was of empty of wheelies of any sort. What would Miss Marple make of it? I amused myself with the thought of early-morning students on a drunken caper wheeling my wheelie around the city with a pissed-up nerd inside. Wheelie-less, I rang the Council. “I’m without a wheelie,” I said. “Oh dear, no,” a sympathetic lady replied. She was shocked by my sorry tale and promised re-instatement. A shiny new wheelie arrived the very next day; then another one the day after, then a third the day after that. I’ve opened an e-Bay account. Don’t tell the Council.

23 thoughts on “And Then There Were Three

  1. How complicated it is! Where my sister lives in rural Sussex though they don’t seem to bother. And in un-eco-friendly Jamaica everything gets chucked into the same stinking old truck. But we do keep our plastic, glass and newspapers and take them to an environmental NGO that DOES recycle! 99% of the populace don’t give a damn… Hence the filthy mess our island is in!!


    1. This was the same in Turkey but whole families live near the land fill sites and make a meagre living recycling the rubbish. It’s filthy and dangerous work and they are the lowest rung of the social ladder. Is this the case in Jamaica?


  2. When I visited England at Christmas I was amazed at the number of bins. My daughter has a very small garden and they seem to take up a lot of the space. When I think of our village, and how my rubbish has to be carried down the hill to the one and only bin, it all seems a bit ridiculous. I’m sure I’m one of the few people who use it…everyone else burns their rubbish.


  3. . . and don’t forget the swarms of Hurdacı (scrap collectors) who gather, sort and sell on, that should be added to the twice-daily collections – then again, you’ve probably never seen them as they get banned from up-market places like Bodrum 🙂


  4. It’s been a positive experience for me here in Essex. There are no bins and you just put yr rubbish out on a Tues morn (Monday night if you want the bags ripped apart by anything feral). Black for general rubbish, orange for all recycling. I was pleased by this as when I lived here (different county albeit), the multiple color coded bins were left stinking for far too long. Still that was nothing compared to the local farmers experiment with ‘treated’ human excrement as a fertiliser.


  5. It’s different again here in Wales. Three bins and alternate weeks for two of them, weekly for the other. I miss the efficiency of the local Rathaus staff in Germany who produced a calendar each year for every household with colour coded days to match which colour waste “sac” was due for collection. Superb system there with bottles as you pay a deposit on your bier and vin essentials then you can take them back to claim the refund in full. A tad awkward if you don’t have a car and drink as much as I did back then but they system seemed to work well as their national recycling is well above the rest of the EU. If you opted out of any collection in order to take it to the depot yourself you could get a reduction in your council tax too! Mind you they did have refuse inspectors and look out if you put the wrong things in a bag or didn’t thoroughly wash your recyclables.
    Malta was daily similar to Turkey but no such fancy technology as wheelie bins. Each property had a nail or screw casually stuck in the wall about 5ft high by the front door and you hung your refuse on it in a plastic grocery bag. It was hit and miss if they took it away though as with most things there you could never rely on consistency. Had many a near miss from losing an eye too walking home a few too wines the worse and catching your face on some nail or screw sticking out of the wall of a 300,000 euro villa.
    Had to pay 15c for the damn grocery bags too and they were so flimsy you were never sure that you actually had one. Mind you have to pay for them here in Wales now too. 5p a bag so not as much a rip off as Malta but nevertheless you’ll see hoards of my countryfolk pretending to shop in border towns such as Hereford and asking for separate bags for each of their items.


    1. What a splendid idea. We could do with a bit of German efficiency here and a calender would be fab. We got into a complete pickle over Christmas and couldn’t remember what was what! Liam and I have bought some eco-bags to do the big shop and boxes to carry the wine. Tescos still give out free bags when I pop into to the Tesco Metro in the city square for essentials.


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