Cardiff City Council has announced a proposal that would see all households throughout the city being forced to use clear bin bags in an attempt to boost recycling. Like other Welsh councils, Cardiff has seen a massive increases in recycling rates, and currently 52 per cent of waste generated does not go to landfill. This is above the EU’s 50 per cent target which was due to be accomplished by 2020, however the Welsh Government has decided that the target of 50 per cent is too low, and has set its own target of 58 per cent. Cardiff Council is concerned it is not going to reach this target in two years time, hence this latest plan.
The plan is flawed though in many ways. There is the potential for nosey neighbours to visually rummage through their neighbours' rubbish. As Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch, states:
There is a clear danger that personal documents, like bank statements that haven't been shredded, will be on show, meaning there is a concern this could aid identity theft.
It could have a significant impact on some of the most vulnerable in society. There are many who struggle to keep up-to-date with the latest changes the council makes. What's going to happen to them?
Bureaucrats will also be inspecting rubbish. Anyone seen to be offending may receive a visit from the ominously named "waste awareness team". Persistent offenders will be issued a fine for failing to sort their rubbish properly. How many times you have to "offend" is not made clear.
By all means encourage more people to recycle, but this is not encouraging more people to recycle. It is, as Jane Cowan, Independent councillor for Rhiwbina said, a step too far. It is forcing people to leave their rubbish on their doorsteps for everyone to see, and is an attempt to shame those the council sees as not doing the right thing, even though they may have made an honest mistake.
It's time for a rethink.