PAUL LICENSE: Dewy-eyed over a lost, rubbish, past

Dinno Lad Main Photo - Look after your wheelie bin. (w110119-19)
Dinno Lad Main Photo - Look after your wheelie bin. (w110119-19)
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IN a few days I will be 60.

Not sure if I say this seeking your sympathy or commiseration.

Personally I don’t feel my age. Though I haven’t a clue what that should feel like.

All I know is that when I was a youngster people at the grand old age of 60 seemed ancient. Positively decrepit.

They wore an old-age uniform (pinnies for the women and trilbies for the blokes), shared a flurry of ailments and smelt of tobacco and fustiness.

They also spoke a common language which always began: “When I was a lad...”

Or: “You wouldn’t catch me in one of those new-fangled...”

Yesteryear, to them, was always preferable to the modern age.

And they were gazing way back into a distant past, at least from my perspective. Ancient history, between the wars and all that.

Today, I like to think that my generation embraces technological and social advances more readily.

As a result we are younger for our years and our language is just as likely to be about the latest music as about an iPod app.

I know my kids or even the younger people in the office would disagree. From where they stand I am listing with one foot in the proverbial.

But I would counter by arguing that my nostalgia is not necessarily culled from the days when dustbin men lugged galvanised bins from backyards and tossed them effortlessly over the back of a lorry.

No. I don’t have to go that far back to become dewy-eyed over lost opportunities and halcyon days.

My nostalgia can be garnered from much closer to the present day.

And over bins!

Do you remember when we had a black wheelie bin?

And nothing else? Those were the days, weren’t they?

No shivering in the snow as you separated paper from bottles.

No fiddling about with the ‘hat’ on a blue box or ramming the lid shut in case the binmen feel that it gapes too openly.

All this is the stuff of today’s recycling regime.

We have to separate, sort and stuff our waste into boxes and bins in the forlorn hope that we are saving the planet.

But soon even this situation may be seen as ‘the good old days’.

For recycling is about to be recycled itself. And turned into a different monster altogether.

Now I am not suggesting that Sheffield has this plan up their sleeve. So don’t panic.

But while we have three or four receptacles for our rubbish, the situation is much worse in some parts of the country.

For they are expected to put their rubbish into six, seven or eight different containers.

And one council, at Newcastle-under-Lyme, has a staggering nine options, just for the stuff you want to throw away.

If you are unlucky enough to have voted for this loopy council, you have to separate paper from cardboard, cans and bottles from plastics, food slops from food waste, clothing from garden waste.

That’s a heck of a lot of bins, bags and boxes.

But the council has one final trick up its sleeve.

It insists that each household has one more bin.

This is for normal refuse, whatever that is after the other lot has been separated and sifted.

Mind you, it could be for recycling council ideas!