As you may have worked out for yourself by now, I live in a flat (hopefully only for a couple more months or so). Now a few years ago I asked if I could have a recycling box, because although all the houses on our road have them, my flats didn't. I was told in a very curt letter that the policy of Croydon Council was that buildings with more than 4 flats do not get recycling boxes. This flew me into a bit of a rage, because I couldn't quite believe that the council were making this big deal about supporting recycling, but were actually missing out one of the largest parts of our community, making their whole policy a sham. Anyway, a few angry words later and cut on a year or so. I was eventually told that my flats would be getting, rather than the small green boxes, a large wheely bin type affair for recycling that could take glass, cardboard, plastic bottles, tins etc. All well and good and I felt that maybe (just maybe) I had helped this along with my complaining. So for the last 2 years I have been happily recycling my stuff, well done the council.
Anyway, as to my despair it is not actually this about which I am despairing, after all, the council finally gave me what I wanted. No, I included this purely as background to the main event:
My flat shares a building with about 12 more flats and we all use these bins, so why is it, do you suppose, that other people in the building can't even be bothered to recycle anything even with the facility in front of their noses? Obviously, I can't speak for everyone in the building, but the ordinary bins (which I am proud to say, I hardly ever have to use) are always full of cardboard, cans, drink bottles etc. Is there so little care about it that people don't even think about it once? I suppose I shouldn't necessarily be surprised as some of the residents here can't even be bothered to lift the lid of the bin and just chuck bags into the approximate area. So yes, I despair of my fellow human being. It is this lack of care, lack of awareness and pure and simple old fashioned laziness that causes landfills, causes nothing to change. If we can't get people to change just a simple thing like this when it is put in front of their nose, then what will make them sit up and listen? But are these the same people who are leaving all their lights burning all night? Heating their house but opening their windows when they are hot? Buying mobile phones to throw them in the (non-recycling) bin when the next one takes their fancy?
Perhaps all we can actually do is quietly go about doing what we are doing to change things in our own small, individual way and if there are enough of us, then perhaps we can make a difference.