Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Government takes on Grannies

SembCorpMy Singapore National Recycling Programme green bin bag was just delivered. I am invited to collect paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, glass, electrical appliances, soft toys, old clothing and shoes for doorstep collection after 8:30am on one of 3 dates written in marker pen on the bag. All in the same bag, but No Food Waste Please.

As you know, there is a big blue recycling wheelie bin at the void deck for these items, and you also know it is systematically raided by the local grannies and grandads. 60+ aluminium cans for a dollar. 1 meter high stack of newspapers might be 4 dollars. So what gives? Either the Government is trying to encourage more use of the big bin, or they are trying to cut out the local, fixed-income pensioners.

The copious, bilingual (not tri-lingual?) instructions on the bag include a stern warning:

"Unauthorised collection of recyclables is an offence and will be reported to the police".

Utter cobblers. This would be the same police that ignore cycling on the pavement, persistent littering out of flat windows, lighting fires on landings, unsafe storage of goods on landings and stairwells and parking motorbikes under the void deck. Everyone knows who the local recyclers are and where they sit of an evening collating the paper and bashing apart appliances for their metals (mainly electric motors for the copper).

So I'm confused again. Maybe it's just a top-down, national bright idea with no joining up to local communities and policing. Sounds the most likely scenario but the situation places householder's loyalties on the line; Government versus Grannies.

I'm with the grannies on this one as they are motivated to separate the materials properly for maximum financial worth and hence ecological benefit. SembCorp Environmental Management claims to retain ownership of the plastic bag they have just arranged to have thrown through my front door, implying an enforced duty of care without compensation. This faceless, lawyer-lined corporation does not need my charity. Oh sweet disobedience, tempt me not!