Sunday, November 23, 2008


Cars backing in and lining up to deposit their waste at the TIP....
and please note, there is this sign on premise:
Rubbish...something very central to life in England.  The weather is rubbish.   The economy...rubbish.  National Cricket and Rugby teams...yep, rubbish.   The thing about rubbish though that is so striking?  Well, for starters, you put the rubbish in the bin.

There are a few other American families over here with my company who we have gotten to know, one of which who just moved from The Netherlands. Their children attended a British School in Amsterdam and upon moving to the UK, naturally assumed little English accents. After dinner one night, and before drinks, we were cleaning up.  One of the little tikes walked up to me and asked, "Excuse me please, I need to put my rubbish in the bin.  Do you know I could find the bin?"  
Ok...the bin.  Simple differences in language, like the boot or the bonnet.  Fine, then.  We throw our rubbish in the bin...but then what?

Well in our town, there are strict rules, regulations, schedules, rituals, etc regarding rubbish collection....and we still have not figured it out.  There is home collection of rubbish.  One must place his "rubbish which cannot be recycled" in a specially marked plastic bag in front of one's house on the appropriate day.  Our day is Thursday...I think.  So on Wednesday night, or Thursday morning, we take the rubbish from the bin, place it in a plastic bag, and pop it out on the curb....simple right?

We received a letter stating that we are putting out our the rubbish too early.  Please do not do it again, or you will be fined...yikes!  What a place.
Not to worry, though.  In England, you have options to avoid fines for putting out rubbish. Whilst we do put out our rubbish on a weekly basis, attempting to comply with the English rules, we also partake in a weekly English ritual....we visit the TIP.

The TIP might be one of the strangest things we have encountered so far in the UK.  The TIP is the dump....for obvious things like your garbage, recycling plastic and glass (green, clear, brown separate), cardboard, but there's more.  There are places for more exotic items like Televisions, Freezers, Cooking Oils, Batteries, Clothing (clean please) all represented with separate signs, containers, and personnel.  On the weekends, much of our town collects their own rubbish and recycling, along with the contents of their basements, back gardens, and craft rooms, and they load up their cars, and spend a chunk of the afternoon walking from one dumpster to another to recycle these items.  

It was a strange concept to us at first but after many visits to the TIP, we frequently comment about how recycling is much more a part of life here than it ever was for us in the U.S. We hope though, that we are doing our part now, to help the environment a bit more than we were before. 
One family bringing their trailer full of rubbish to deposit at the TIP. 
The bottle bank - separated by glass color.
Scott diligently sorting the glass bottles to make the correct bottle bank deposits.
The massive bins of various types of rubbish.
The electronic and engine oil depository section of the TIP.
The fridge & freezer section of the TIP. 
Two signs posted just beyond the huge bins for rubbish. 17,500 tonnes of waste is a LOT of waste!
A good sign to see to reinforce that even though this process takes time to do, it does help eliminate rubbish for future residents of this earth. 

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