Mary Dejevsky: Fortnightly rubbish rounds <i>are not</i> a good thing

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The once-every-two-weeks rubbish collection is a concept that supposedly derives from green concerns, but ends up giving greenery a bad name. The official sales pitch goes like this. We, you and everyone all want to be environmentally responsible, reduce waste and save the planet. So we, the council, will give you, the resident, a variety of colour-coded containers, a list of instructions almost as complicated as an application for a bank account ("it's money laundering, you know"), and halve the number of bin collections. The rubbish lorries will make fewer trips, spewing out less pollution. Once every resident has been re-educated into recycling to the highest of German standards, then hey presto: the planet will be one small step closer to being saved and we can all congratulate ourselves on being true friends of the Earth.

Except, of course, none of this really solves your rubbish problem. Picking up household waste at the door and disposing of it safely and hygienically is one of the most basic duties of a local authority and a regular and adequate waste collection is the mark of a civilised society. If you tied yourself in verbal knots, you could call such advances on the rubbish front "organic", or even "green". My definition would be barbaric, and a gross dereliction of duty