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Tell you what I want, what I wheely, wheely want - a bit of common sense.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY

THERE must, I'm sure, be a college night class you can enrol on to better understand the nuances of our ever-expanding recycling scheme.

Because I've not been on it, there's a mountain of festering Christmas refuse outside our house.

Some of the discarded food items may soon be able to crawl to the tip themselves. The turkey's still got its legs, and what's left of the leg of lamb could hop.

I learnt how many days there were in each month by reciting a rhyme.

Will someone please invent a rhyme pin-pointing the correct days to put out the different types of rubbish?

There's a week for bottles and jars, all of which have to be cleaned thoroughly before being put in the blue box: I know this because a burly binman called Colin knocked on our door, clutching a mayonnaise pot and told me I'd missed a bit.

There's a week for papers, which go in a black box. There's also a 'green waste' receptacle, which is garden stuff, but doesn't include the Christmas tree. That has to be taken to a place where they shred it and give it you back, which makes it much harder to dump.

Last year, I had to make 20 forays from our house with the festive mulch bulging in my pockets. One wag saw me slyly emptying the sawdust on the village green and asked if I was building another tunnel.

Garden waste doesn't include paving slabs, fencing and stone gnomes. They have to be taken to a tip where a fee is paid because they're classed as industrial garbage. This is a nonsense: the gnome I wanted to offload was holding a fishing rod, not a blowtorch.

I had to chase after the van, weighed down by a large box, that collects cardboard. The bloke told me it was too big and I'd have to cut it into eight pieces.

I did. He then told me they only accept four pieces per household. That bombshell seemed to put a spring in his step.

Despite a disastrous trial run, the local authority will again try to recycle plastics in the new year. Its employees now understand the plastic boxes the plastics are put in shouldn't be recycled.

The really stinky stuff is only collected once a fortnight because, the council reckon, there won't be a lot of it after we've weedled out the garden waste, paper, tins, bottles and cardboard.

Our bin, however, is full of rancid food. Next door's is not. They have the recycling routine cracked.

One of our mistakes was cooking vegetables, the neighbour said. If we'd eaten our Brussels sprouts raw, the left-overs would've been classed as garden waste.

Clements, the faithful old retainer who tends Chateau Lockley's manicured lawns, is furious because there is now nowhere to dump dead dogs and ferrets. He's asked the council for a 'dead dogs and ferrets day', but they haven't come back to him.

I liked it best when rubbish was just rubbish, and dumped in a big metal bin.

But now, a council recycling guru explained in a newsletter, we have to be like Sweden, where everything is re-used. That's why I never visited a McDonald's while in Stockholm.

Every Boxing Day, millions of Swedes strip naked, smash ice on the nearest pool and dive in. That's what recycling has done to them.

"We can no longer treat this planet as a rubbish dump," the chairman of our parish council told me as I placed refuse in my multi-coloured bins. Why not? If it's good enough for my son's bedroom...

"And unless we act now," he added, "each household will face a pounds 100 bill simply because we have exceeded the amount of rubbish we're legally entitled toplace in landfill sites."

I gingerly grabbed the decaying turkey at the bottom of our wheelie bin and thrust it under the councillor's nose.

He winced, gagged then turned away.

"Will a cheque do?" I asked.

I'm now awaiting an invitation to next year'sGrandNational. Apparently they're on the lookout for wheelie-bin operatives to keep the course looking nice and tidy.

Always wondered where to get rid of my old jockey shorts.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2008
Words:701
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