Thursday, 14 June 2007

And the public wants what the public gets

This is interesting to me – we've had the morning Metro for, what. about five, six years now? And it's coming up a year that there have been competing evening freebies. And yet they still haven't worked this out…

There comes a point when the thing to do is bring the mountain to Mohammed, surely? Almost everyone seems to think that if you leave your paper on the tube, it'll get recycled. So, rather than complaining that people should know to take their paper home with them to recycle, why aren't the papers left on trains recycled?

Well, okay – many of them are directly recycled, in that they're read by more than one person. I work a late-ish shift at work, so most mornings, if I read the Metro it's because someone left it on the seat.(1)

But why not recycled-recycled?

The papers left on trains. Most of them aren't mixed with other litter when they're left on the train. They're mixed with other litter when the clean up crews come through and pick up the papers and put them in a rubbish bag with other litter. The litter pickers are all people capable of telling the difference between newspapers and general litter, so why not equip them all with two plastic sacks instead of one?

The same kind of goes for cans and plastic bottles, in fact. Seeing as my council collects all three mixed together on a domestic scale, presumably there is a use for them in that form, so; one litter-picker, two bags, a whole lot less landfill.

Possibly there's a reason why something that looks that simple isn't, and the idea has been considered and discarded for good reason. But what if the various companies involved are so busy trying to work out who should pay for what that it hasn't?


(1) (If I read TheLondonPaper it's because I've finished my book, and I'm that bored. If I read LondonLite it's because I'm alone on a train late at night, a drunk guy is trying to engage me in conversation and I have no other form of cover… Under these circumstances, experience has shown, I will also read Ice Hockey Review, the stock data in the Financial Times, and a discarded programme from a musical you couldn't pay me to attend.)