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December 2011
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Talking rubbish
By Diana Taylor

I know I may not be the only Master Composter in this village but I’ll take a gamble on the fact that I am the most recently trained. Whilst the zeal of the novice is still burning bright, I have a few things to share with you and, yes, I am talking rubbish or at least about RUBBISH!

Changing times
When I was a girl my lemonade came in glass bottles with a stone cap and metal spring, our butter came in greaseproof paper as did our fish and meat. Paper bags held the vegetables, if they had to be bought, and milk was delivered by the milkman in glass bottles with foil caps. Soap was called soap. It came in a bar and did not need to squirt from a plastic bottle. Water was good enough to drink from the tap and the thought of buying water would have seemed as distant as going to Mars! Clothes were made of natural fibres, manure came from horses, chickens or mushrooms and was not bought in a plastic sack. Our shopping was collected in a box or a basket. Just about everything we used was what we would now call ‘recyclable’ although we had never heard of a bottle bank.

“But we do recycle our plastic bottles” I hear you cry. Well done! Or not so well done?

A plastic bottle can only be used once before it needs to be recycled and plastic can only be recycled a limited number of times before it goes to landfill where it will then take 500 years to decompose. What happens after the 500 years? Well, even if you are not still around, that bottle is and it will now be leaching into the water table, affecting every form of life on Earth.

Glass bottles, on the other hand, can be used 13 times before needing to be recycled and when they are recycled they can be new glass bottles. Glass can be recycled again and again without losing its clarity or purity. Both glass and aluminium are easier to make in the first place than plastic, as they begin as simple natural minerals.

How about an extra fact or four? The energy saved by recycling just one glass bottle will power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour or a computer for 20 minutes or a washing machine for ten or a colour television for 15.

The glass bottle bank is handy, holding up to three thousand glass bottles before it needs emptying. Go there, use it, recycle your bottles and jars but also remember that the milkman is already on the road in his electric float and that he will do the recycling of your milk bottles for you.

It may cost you a few extra pence per week to have the milkman but you won’t be spending this on petrol going to take your plastic bottles to the dump and it won’t be costing the (planet) Earth. So bring back the milkman and start talking rubbish by finding more facts at

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