Daily Archives: December 14, 2007

Un-Christmas Shopping

Yesterday I was at a new branch of the Tesco Supermarket Chain in Ballymena. Among the purchases I selected was a bottle of flavoured vinegar. There was a price on the shelf edge and a barcode on the bottle. When I get to the check-out I am told they cannot sell it to me and move it aside.

“Why?” I ask.

“There is no price in the system” said the checkout girl.

“If there is no price in the system, why is the item on the shelf?” I ask. “I am willing to pay for it and it has a Barcode on the side. If you have no price that is not my fault and think you should give it to me free!”

An assistant was called and sent back for another bottle to see if it would scan. This second one would not scan either so ‘my’ bottle was moved further out of my reach. That got my goat up so I was determined to stand my ground, and Elly will tell you a cross Grannymar is not a happy bunny.

Having paid for and packed my goods I went to the Service desk. Having told my story I was informed all the managers were at a meeting. I called the girls bluff and said I would wait. I needed to calm down and a rest so waited. Otherwise I would have interrupted the meeting (taking place in a corner of the shop floor beside the entrance).

I left the store some 15 minutes later with the vinegar, which I paid for.

Wash and Squash!

That was the title of an article in the latest edition of a local freebie newspaper that pops un-requested through my letterbox every week. The article was announcing a new carton recycling scheme launched by our local Council. Wonderful I hear you say. But is it? I am all for doing my bit to save the planet and actually did a Podcast about my selection of bins for various forms of recycling and waste disposal back in January this year. At last count I had a compost bin in the garden, 3 bins of the wheelie variety and a box, all of them emptied at the kerbside. General waste (for landfill) is emptied each week, while the garden waste bin and recyclable box for glass, plastic etc are fortnightly and the paper bin is every six weeks.

Back to June 1999 a small number of Council representatives in Northern Ireland agreed on the merits of a partnership approach to the development of a Waste Management Plan to comply with Article 23 of the Waste and Contaminated Land Order 1997. By 2000, 11 Councils joined together to form the Eastern Region Waste Management Group and embark on the collaborative initiative known as arc21.

Is it another quango I wonder?

The Draft Waste Management Plan was issued for public consultation in February 2002. It considered the different waste options in detail and proposed a solution for managing waste until 2020. All eleven of the ‘arc21’ constituent Councils adopted the Plan by January 2003.

This new initiative is for paper-based cartons used for milk, fruit juices and other liquids. According to the article, after collection these items can be recycled into a number of different products, ranging from plasterboard liner to high-strength paper bags and envelopes.

The recycling Manager for the Council reminds us that “This new scheme will allow ‘us’(Councils) to further increase our recycling rates and hopefully encourage more people to take a sustained interest in recycling as a way of life.” No mention of the kick up the tail-end that all UK Councils received from the EU about improving the figures! Presently just over 70% of all household waste goes directly to landfill sites.

So the new initiative is all very good, but it is not to be part of the kerbside collections. I have a total of FOUR bin Lorries calling into the cul-de-sac to empty bins from my driveway. FOUR bin Lorries, belching out fumes to dissolve the ozone layer even more and now because they have come up with this great idea, I have to get into my little car and tootle along to my nearest Recycling and Civic Amenity Site with my washed and squashed Tetra type packs.

Using an average of one a week I now have to find a way to store them until I have a decent bundle or bag full to dispose of.

Do you think I should use a plastic bag to store them in?