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July 09, 2008

Comments

Glenn

Recycling - potentially a good source of low skilled jobs, requiring folks withouth qualifications to sort through stuff. What's the harm in paying folks to do it? It would generate a bit of work.

The incentive for my own recyling is being given such a small bin for household rubbish with fortnightly collections, but lot of bins for recycled waste. I just had to do it. No choice really. It worked for me. Its a lot of clutter etc, and pain in the *rse in a terraced house of course.

Chris - are we forgetting scouts et al - a whole workforce of child labour waiting to sort our rubbish for a few pounds towards their new flagpole or whatever.

Personally I could never understand what was so so difficult about organising and doing recycling in the UK. They have done it in Germany for many many years.

Although funnily I rented a flat in Berlin for a few months once, and received detailed instructions in German on which rubbish went in which communal bin. Of course I didn't read German so well and figured I'd be able to tell what bin for what rubbish by just looking in it. But I couldn't - there was no apparent sorting of rubbish - they just dumped it in any bin regardless of colour etc.

Will

"However, I don’t think this is a big problem, simply because the job of recycling will be done by children. And those of use who don’t have kids can expect the more entrepreneurial kids in our street to come knocking on our door offering to do the job."

Reminds me of Charles Fourier's utopian vision where the little hordes of children would collect the rubbish. Or Bob-a-Job, if you don't fancy an analogy to utopian socialism.

Charlieman

Glenn: "Recycling - potentially a good source of low skilled jobs, requiring folks withouth qualifications to sort through stuff. What's the harm in paying folks to do it? It would generate a bit of work."

Sorry, Glenn, but I am a bit more optimistic (or more wishful thinking). I don't want to imagine a UK where a decent low skill job is sorting through rubbish for recycling. I prefer to think of a UK where it is difficult to find low skill workers because workers have better jobs. Identifying pre-sorted waste for recycling is something that machines do very well. With remote assistance, they do a reasonable job at identifying unsorted waste.

One of my neighbours fell on hard times a couple of years ago and accepted an agency job sorting recycling bags in Leicester. He lasted one day because the job was so awful, even though he needed the wage. Some of our citizens find it very difficult to understand what is appropriate to place in a recycling bag or box, so I'd prefer that a machine sorts out used nappies from genuine recyclables rather than a poorly paid human.

sidsid

"I prefer to think of a UK where it is difficult to find low skill workers because ...."

Oh yes. Education Education Education will see to that!

Charlieman

"Oh yes. Education Education Education will see to that!"

I did mention wishful thinking in the same paragraph... And what is wrong with ambition? Desiring that citizens are given workable opportunities for education and training is a higher ideal than tolerating that some will only be fit for (worthy) manual labour.

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