“Waste not, want not”

The entrance to Allendale’s Household Waste Recycling Centre on Shilburn Road

When our daughter was growing up, just at the point of beginning school, I often took her out on a ‘special adventure’ — it was only when she was well into talking with her new school friends that she discovered that ‘going to the dump’ wasn’t really all that special. But visiting Allendale’s site is special for me even now.

Still open four days a week (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon) with slightly truncated hours throughout dark winter evenings (6pm closing), the SUEZ-managed site is taken care of so capably by Stephen Forster, who has the unenviable job of trying to maintain some of the recycling rules, while also monitoring waste permits and keeping things tidy. The place really is a joy to visit, and by the way, you meet the nicest folks there too, all attending to their sorting tasks.

I’ve always tried to be a ‘Make do and mend’ sort of guy, but sometimes you have to admit defeat and get a new, more energy efficient appliance, like our new washing machine — hence my visit to drop the ancient model into the metal waste skip.

The skip for metal waste, for example, is always neatly stacked to get the most items into the smallest space; mounds of bottles in the bottle banks are raked down so more can be inserted; material that folks have mistakenly just dumped for landfill in the ‘General Waste’ container is hoiked out and put right: cardboard flattened in its skip; wood laid flat in its; paper and tin cans and light plastic in theirs. I see that the recycling proportion tends to vary between 60 and 80% of stuff deposited. I’ve watched Steve at work, and he’s very conscientious!

There’s a little skip for small domestic electricals, a larger one for broken old tellies, another copious container for garden waste, and another huge one for rigid plastic. There’s one for car batteries, one for fluorescent tubes, a couple for clothes recycling, and one for rubble. Oh, there’s also a container for used oil. There’s so much to recycle, but I’ve been persuaded that these days, it’s really not the place to have a child wandering around in, even though it’s such an education to see just what ‘treasures’ people throw away. But it can’t hurt for the little ones to see good recycling practice from an early age, from the safety of their child seat inside the car, now can it?

And as for treasures, there’s also a variety of ways to do conscientious recycling before the finality of the dump, whether it’s the Allendale Lions Charity Auction, or a brief note in the ‘Allendale area notices’ Facebook page. After all: “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

Inside the site: a place for everything, and everything in its place.

1 Comment

  1. Back in the day, we regularly took our daughter skip diving when we lived in the Toon, explaining away this odd behaviour to her as saving the planet when it was probably meanness but where else could you get Victorian panel doors and the occasional cast iron fireplace, it’s the cycle of life in urban aesthetics, the former owners were hoying out old stuff to ‘modernise’ and we were removing the labours of the previous decade to put back what we thought was originally in the house we were, well ‘ modernising ‘ Even now daughter queries the fact that she always has second hand things( she didn’t ) as a sign she was ‘deprived’ Have we scarred her? Probably but all that money we saved can pay for her therapy

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