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How green is your valley .. or street .. or beach?

How committed are you to recycling and making a greener world?

You may say “Very”, but a recent incident made me think just how many of us allow our Green-ness, to sneak out beyond our own garden gates?

Here’s our example: On the last school day before the holidays, I was collecting my youngest son from school.  As walked along the road to school I saw a Budweiser* bottle stood against a garden wall and thought,

“Oh dear, someone may come and smash that later, must pick it up on the way back”

Passing the next driveway I could see however that there was a ‘green’ recycling bin almost level with the pavement .. I say ‘green’ cos it was actually ‘burgendy’, as our council call it

“I’ll pop it in there!” I thought.

So i turned around, went back, picked up the bottle .. under the gaze of a slightly bemused lady a few yards behind me .. and quietly, dropped it in the aforementioned ‘green’ bin: a nicely full recycling bin at that .. these home owners were obviously good recycling folk! .. Job done, i thought.

Having walked around a hundred yards however, I heard shouts behind me.

“Oy you!”

I turned around.

Enter angry-faced man, waving a familiar bottle: “I saw you .. you put your bottle in my bin”  He thrust the bottle at me.

Oh dear, he clearly had the wrong end of the stick (or bottle perhaps?).

I carefully explained what i done, surely he would see the reason .. (all again under the view of the bemused lady, who had now stopped in shock at the neighbourhood tableau) .. I thought it better that the bottle be recycled, i told him, than end up broken on his front etc , etc, .. and i had put it in the nearest recycling bin .. namely: his.

“NO!” He simply shouted.  He slammed the bottle on the ground at my feet, “Not in MY bin!” he said and marched off back to his house.

I went on my way .. with the bottle .. and with the slightly bemused lady in full “i saw it all’ flow, of course.

Although an interesting tête-à-tête to pass on in the playground, it made me think.  I had assumed this chap, a keen recycler from the contents of his bin, would not bat an eye, especially after i had explained.  If I see something that is not too grubby and could easily be recycled, or even rubbish, I’ll pick it up.  It makes no difference that it isn’t my rubbish!  Maybe I’m a tad more earthy; a bit of a Womble at heart, but i just think I’d rather it not be there.  His thought was: I recycle mine, but I don’t care out anyone else’s.

It made we wonder what others would do and how far they ‘extend’ their world when it comes to cleaner and greener planet, country, town, neighbourhood … or in this case: street?


On a similar vein .. We have just come back from holiday in Cornwall.  We generally visit the same beaches and are very fond of them .. they are old friends, so to speak .. Should we see any litter, we always try to pick it up.  I think of Surfers Against Sewage’s adage ..

Say thanks to the Sea .. and take home 3

Namely: take home your own rubbish, plus at least three other things.  On our favourite beach in Cornwall, the district wonderfully provide, alongside the normal bins, a whole string on recycling bins on the slip way, therefore beach users can recycle paper, card, plastic and aluminium cans with ease.  On some days we took reclycling, some days rubbish .. Some days just a couple of things, and some days, loads.  Leatherback turtles had been spotted in the sea’s off Cornwall this year, feeding mainly on the glut of jelly-fish at this time of year.  One of their biggest hazards is plastic bags floating in the sea which they mistake for jellies.  This news alone had us picking up every plastic bag, big and small we saw!

We would of course rather rubbish not be left .. we’re no saints, and get annoyed too that people walk off without a thought for what they leave behind .. it does not however trump our desire to pick it up and make ‘good’.

Are we the odd-balls .. or are there others who think the same?

While trawling the internet for ‘beach cleans’ recently, we found this fabulous chap .. Michal .. and his van are travelling the coast of Scotland on a mission to clean up beaches .. Take a look at his blog HERE and be inspired!

A guy and his van. Two months, 30+ Scottish beaches, tons of marine litter.

SurfHelppicture courtesy of Surfhelp

Happy Wombling

* Other beers are available (snigger)

PS …. The weekend after next we’re driving to the East coast to take part in a beach clean organised by the Marine Conservation Society .. See HERE for the full MCS list of their Beachwatch events list this year and there may well be one near you.