Page last updated at 04:39 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Throw away Britain


As part of the BBC's look at Britain's throwaway culture, BBC website readers have been sending in their views on waste disposal.

Here is a selection of opinions from across the country.


I already recycle as much as possible including things not designated as materials for our boxes.

I even collect old stamps that go some way in helping charities.

But I wish someone could get the manufacturers and supermarkets to stop putting so many layers of packaging on their goods.

I do my bit by always taking my own bags when I go out shopping. But if I try to buy my fruit loose, much of it is in shrink-wrapped bags. I even see there have been two or three separate wrappings around some goods.

So far I have to put all the plastic wrapping, except boxes, bottles etc, into the ordinary collection bin so it ends up in a landfill site.

We're lucky here in Newport that we have facilities to recycle cardboard. In other parts of Newport there are trials to recycle food waste. I think this is a good idea and hope the trial will come to my area soon.


I have got three bins from the council that I use for recycling: one for household waste, one for garden waste, and another for cans and bottles. I see it as a necessary evil because we need to do something.

I don't think the manufacturers make it easy for us. For instance a certain butter tub that I think is plastic is actually waxed card. So I just have to throw it away.

Manufacturers should also reduce packaging to the minimum - no bulking out of things.

I have seen packaging for sausages that is moulded in a way to make it look like there are more sausages then there actually are.

I believe there is legislation but there's limited enforcement. I think it would be quite a task to take on the big retailers.

It's unfair that the consumer is penalised. When I shop I have little choice in what I can buy, so if I want crisps I have to buy them in a packet. The packet should at least be biodegradable.

The drive to stop supplying carrier bags at supermarkets doesn't stop the amount of plastic that is used. Although I use my bags for different things, I still use bin bags and I have to pay for them.

Waste should be either recyclable or biodegradable. We need to stop at source rather than the terminus.


I think there are a few aspects which should be considered if a serious attempt to reduce waste is made.

Throw away comes about because it costs more to repair many appliances than to purchase a new item.

Manufacturers should be encouraged to provide a valid product life cycle, with adequate spare part support for at least 10 years for white goods, perhaps a little less for electronic goods and cameras. Unfortunately there is more incentive for rapid obsolescence than long product life right now.

Also the amount of rubbish could be reduced if packaging is more sensible. Blister packs especially are a nuisance. Another source of much household waste is unsolicited junk mail - this nuisance can cause the loss of important mail.

Until these issues are tackled, and a coherent and consistent recycle policy is put in place across all local authorities, then this will be a source of confusion and error, leading to people being in breach of the law by accident, say if they move house to another area.

How can we tackle Britain's throw-away culture? Send us your views and stories

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