Photo Essay

The things we let go...

Remnants XX

After organising access to a local refuse and recycling centre for a project I am working on I was stunned to witness some of the items being discarded.

The items found at the tip are, perhaps, symtematic of our combined philosophy towards the wider planet and the ongoing issues facing it. Barely a day goes by without the news channels reporting on habitat loss due to the demands for timber, pollution by chemicals and landfill or crime resulting from ID theft.

It is perhaps surprising that the items often found at the refuse centres include functional timber furniture (despite many charities being keen to take these from you), items containing personal information, working electronics, toys, crutches and even 'eco' products such as wind up radios!

The staff explained that many clients throw everything in the non-recyclable skips if they are not being assisted by staff despite the fact that many items are perfectly functional. Other skips such as metals, are often 'contaminated' if clients throw in timber or plastics because they are too lazy or misinformed to sort their rubbish.

Each skip is signed and colour coordinated. The colour coordination is necessary because as much as 20% of clients cannot read the signage. However, unless they seek the assistance of the staff how would they know which colour equates to which type of rubbish!

This particular recycling centre regularly manages a recycling rate of around 60-70%, an admirable target. However, that means that 30-40% is regularly sent to landfill.... tonnes and tonnes going into the ground!.....

Perhaps if we all took just a few more moments and gave a little more consideration to what we discard the recycling figure could actually be much higher!

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