TRASH TALK

Environmental protection is inseparable from the proper disposal of waste. The UK is a country with a strict waste classification system. Living here means doing it properly.

In China, many residential areas have set up public trash collection points. It’s convenient to dump your trash into public trash collection points every day when you go downstairs. However, there is no public trash collection point in the United Kingdom. In general, British people will place several large bins at the door of their house. They need to sort their trash, throw it into specific trash bins, and then wait for relevant staff (“the bin men”) to collect it on a regular basis.

The UK’s waste classification system is really great. When I first moved into my apartment, the local government department sent some special food waste bags and a kitchen caddy to my door. You can see that the United Kingdom is very careful about recycling. The garbage bins placed at each door normally are green, blue and brown, with each colored bin being used to hold different types of trash.

The green bin is generally for a variety of food waste. In addition to the daily kitchen waste, the residue of tea or coffee must also be thrown into this green bin. Moreover, you can throw any raw, cooked or expired food into the green bin, but you must remove the packaging beforehand.

The blue trash bin is for paper waste, like cardboard, boxes and so on. There is absolutely no need for plastic bags here, paper items can be thrown directly into the bin.

The brown bin is usually for glass bottles, cans, and plastic bottles. Before these are thrown into the trash, you must be sure to pour all food waste out. It’s best to flush them with water and then throw them in the bin.

The above-mentioned are all small-scale trash types. Large-scale trash, likes abandoned furniture, electrical appliances and building materials, need to be sent to the local large-scale garbage disposal center (English folk often refer to this place as “the tip”).

The waste classification system in the United Kingdom is very strict. If the trash is not properly classified, it may be rejected by staff or complained about by neighbors. When I first arrived here, I did not quite understand the system and I encountered the situation whereby staff rejected my trash at first.

Although I have not encountered any fines, I have heard that some students were fined about 300 GBP (about 2,700 RMB) for not accurately organizing their trash.

It was on the second day of a certain garbage collection. I wanted to move the bin onto the street, but it was difficult to move the bin and it was heavy. Later, when I opened the lid, I saw all the trash was left intact in the bin. After consulting related departments, I finally found out the reason was that there was a little food residue left on the discarded box.

The consequences of trash rejection are very serious. The time and frequency of recycling varies in each part of the UK. I live in Coventry. Trash is collected every two weeks, which means just twice a month. If your trash is rejected, the former trash can’t be emptied and the bin will be full in a short time. At the end, your new trash has to be piled up at the door, which also affects the environment of your home. If you miss the opportunity to send away trash one time, it means that you will be accompanied by it for the following two weeks! That wasn’t so bad in the winter. However, with summer coming, the smell of trash is bad. Therefore, for your own quality of life here, you must sort trash and do it properly.

Although I have not encountered any fines, I have heard that some students were fined about 300 GBP (about 2,700 RMB) for not accurately organizing their trash. In contrast, the Chinese trash classification system really needs to improve. Although many trash bins in China are divided into recyclable and non-recyclable bins, there are still many people who do not place the correct trash into allocated bins. The recycling bins are almost useless. The reason is nothing more than the lack of participation from citizens, environmental awareness and waste classification knowledge.

Whether in the UK or China, I hope everyone can try their best to sort and recycle their trash. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment. I believe that as environmental awareness continues to increase, the efficiency of waste recycling in China will increase.

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