Recycling is Rubbish

Rag & Bone

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For the past three years I have been trying to organise effective recycling within our company. I have found out, this seems to be a pretty impossible task to achieve.
Even though the general waste & the recycling bins are clearly marked & positioned around the studio, I constantly find unseparated waste in all of them. “Clean the food off of the plastic containers, don’t just trash it because you haven’t” merely falls on deaf ears.
I have sent in house e-mails & stuck notices around the building but 3 years down the line the problems are still the same.
The recycling bins outside where I live also continuously suffer the same complaints.
It seems that without some kind of reward or disciplinary treatment, people generally are not very interested in recycling; the proposed solution by local councils to this at the moment is to just burn all unrecycled waste in ‘Waste to Energy’ facilities.
But who is to blame? Where is the problem created in the first place?
Just look on the shelves of any supermarket. Packaging! Packaging! Packaging! Disposable plastic everywhere! – Why not prevent all this waste from being made in the first place?
I have done some research and came across the ‘Zero Waste’ philosophy which reminded me that when I was a child in the 60’s & 70’s most drinks came in glass bottles that had a refund paid on their return for re-use which we were always diligent to collect.
Also ‘Rag & Bone’ Men would come in a horse & cart around to the streets where we lived, ringing a bell. Anything we had to recycle was taken out to them & a fixed rate was paid back to us depending on what we had. Money being in short supply, everything possible was recycled (I have heard a saying that the best recyclers are either very poor or very rich).
“Zero waste” philosophy is to design environmentally friendly products, to reduce materials where and whenever possible; to use re-usable, reparable, more benign materials. Materials that that have a longer life cycle and that are not thrown aside and burnt after one time use and consumption.
Recycling – a word that carries a positive connotation – unfortunately is not the solution.
It uses a lot of energy which creates pollution in itself & it still does not deal with the bulk of our waste.
We need to stop making disposable goods!
Needless to say that without a public & political change we will see no improvements.
& Big business has to come to its senses!


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3 thoughts on “Recycling is Rubbish

  1. I find this is one of the most frustrating things also! Our consumer culture and the ease of simply disposing of single use items takes convenience to a whole new level.

    Where I grew up in South Australia, we would collect bottles and cans for refundable deposit and it was something community groups would utilise for fund raising also – but now that they are proposing introducing this same refund system in other parts of Australia, of course the creators of the product are already stating price hikes, etc will affect consumers – which is just ridiculous.

    I totally love the Zero Waste movement and I agree with you that there needs to be policy change and that the manufacturers need to be kept more accountable, but there also needs to be a massive cultural shift in our consumer behaviour, because our spending dollar is what keeps the ‘corporate environmental blindness’ alive…

    PS love your work!

  2. Ms. Westwood-

    Lately, this topic has been resonating with me. I have found myself going back, and forth about what I want to be when I grow up. You see, I have always been considered different, or a punk. I fell in love with Sid and Nancy’s story, and then Gia the Supermodel’s. Because of their story, I found my way of life…and I am blessed to still be alive to write you this reply. Too fast to live. Too young to die….but until today, I have been living as a force to be reckoned with. Leaving me living. “Too fast to live. Too blind to see. Too young to die.”
    We are in a society, that legitimately, does not need to produce anything on a mass scale anymore. We have so much “bullshit”. We have become so posessive of things, that we have forgotten that we ourselves, are “things”….and we belong to the planet. My current roomates, David and Nathan have helped me see how I too, was as guilty as charged.
    I have always been considered a trendsetter, the faggy queen, a drag queen, a leader, and a person who truly cares. I was always picked on, teased, chosen last, and many guys wouldnt look in my direction. (I know I am like fine wine, an acquired taste). I have always wanted to find someone to love me, before going into my cocoon. So I knew that they cared about who I am, not what I am.
    I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and I was working on a dress for a photo shoot (2012) when Bovary Taritas, a model that was working with me, said “You are so Westwood”. I won’t lie, I was clueless. However it didn’t take me long to learn of your amazing energy, and I hope you can feel mine, because I am asking to be your apprentice….it would allow me to find my melody. :)

    Thank you, for inspiring me….and thank you for sharing your story….it’s what has kept me waiting for the end, instead of ending it myself.

    Warmest Regards,

    Terran Weatherman

  3. Story of my life at work and we are only 10 people… The simple fact of rinsing off they cup of coffee or salad containers is IMPOSSIBLE!
    sad and so frustrating!