Money down the drain pt. 15,432

Despite imminent recession, there’s no sign of any belt-tightening at Bristol City Council who seem as hell-bent as ever on letting some underemployed idiot squander our money on pointless pet projects. This has just appeared on Bristol Indymedia:

Bristol City Council are making a DVD and you can be in it!

Bristol City Council are making a DVD to promote recycling in Bristol and we are looking for some volunteers to star in it. The DVD will have a voice over so you would not have to speak in it.The DVD will be launched in Broadmead in October, there will be a web version and it will be available to be picked up from Housing Associations, libraries, CSPs etc

The DVD will be about 8 – 10 mins long. Filming will take place on Tues 9th, Weds 10th and Thurs 11th September.

Volunteers needed for the following scenes:

– Family recycling at home (black box and food waste)
– Garden waste collection scheme recycling (sacks and / or wheeled bin)
– Recycling at local recycling centre
– Recycling at Household Waste Recycling Centre (St Philips)
– Composting at home
– Using the assisted collection service for black box or food waste

If you live in Bristol and are interested or you know anyone who may be interested please reply to alice.mcgarvie at by the end of Tuesday 12th August


– What scene(s) you are interested in
– Name
– Address
– Contact phone number and email address
– Type of house (if scene at home – ie terraced, bungalow etc)
– Details of who is volunteering for filming (ie just you, partner, children, pets!)

<rant>What is the fucking point of this? If people were in the slightest bit interested in watching films about recycling wouldn’t they be on the telly or at the cinema? Surely the fact they’re not is a mighty big hint to the city council that they intend to spend a lot of money making a film so boring and pointless that no fucker in their right mind is going to bother to watch it?

And why is the city council making films anyway? Haven’t they got better things to spend money on? And if they haven’t, could we just have the money back please? Most people have plenty of sensible things they could spend it on.</rant>

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22 Responses to Money down the drain pt. 15,432

  1. BristleKRS says:

    I remain 100% confident that this project will not end up creating thousands of DVDs which subsequently end up in landfill 🙂

  2. BristolPatriot says:

    Surely Blogger your maths is slightly adrift isnt it pt,15.433
    They payed some dork to think this up in the first place.

  3. Matt says:

    Surely they could produce a film and host it on the Bristol CC website. Avoiding A: DVDs in landfill and the transport CO2 implications of posting them to every household in Bristol and B: Hitting a much wider audience with out advertising costs of broadcast media?

    Just a thought…

  4. Gary Hopkins says:

    Whilst nobody will be suprised that I am in favour of promoting recycling(i did a bit myself but got it done for free by the media)I am rather puzzled about this one. Contrary to the position a few years ago a lot of people are interested in recycling but most of them are using the service pretty effectively anyway.
    The minority who are not recycling are not likely to watch a video and actually need the face to face contact and encouragement that over the last year has been largely abandoned.
    There are many other measures that need to be taken but unfortunately ,unless we manage to stop it in the council debate on 9/9 Labour have decided to do nothing and opt for the incinerator instead.
    Lib Dems. would indeed give you some money back as a rebate off council tax for low waste producers.

  5. Gary Hopkins is spot on here. The council could just as easily use the local media (and their website as Matt said) to promote recycling. The DVD is rather wasteful of time, money and resources, and for Labour to plan for mass incineration of tens of thousands of tonnes of waste every yr is a very backward step (requiring to be fed with massive amounts of waste – that we should instead be minimising – for decades and adding greatly to climate change for instance).

    I also agree with Gary about face to face contact and encouragement that is needed to get those who currently dont recycle into the habit of doing so. I’m in favour of financial incentives to encourage this process, so I like the rebate idea.

    I wont be voting Lib Dem but the waste management issue is something that the Green Party, wider green movement and Lib dems should be able to work together on.

  6. Martyn Whitelock says:

    My kitchen drawer is already full of BCC recycling literature! I think BCC are attempting to reach certain groups and wish them luck if they think a DVD will achieve this. Gary is right, you can’t beat face-to-face communication and I also fully support most recycling initiatives. How about getting more people down to the Create Centre? Their permanent exhibition provides a real education.

    I do feel sorry for this Council sometimes – they just can’t seem to do anything right.

  7. Dave says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here – I think for the most part, recycling in this country is a load of shite. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of it is fantastic and other countries have been doing it far better than us for decades, the biggest example that comes to mind is Germany, where I went on a school exchange visit over 15 years ago and everything was recycled. If you took a crate of glass bottles back to the supermarket, you got money back.

    However, recycling in the UK, and especially Bristol is an absolute farce, and it seems most of the literature created is simply done to try and persuade us otherwise. It’s just lip-service to make people feel good about themselves, I’d put rather a lot of money on it all ending up in the same place anyway. Bristol City Council have implemented it without any thought whatsoever, purely as a means to
    a) hit pointless recycling targets set by central government
    b) reduce bin collection in most areas to just twice a month, a huge saving to them (don’t forget the “replacement”solution of recycling collection was already in place) which was not passed onto council tax payers.

    I already recycled cans and glass bottles before the bin collections were reduced – now we just have to put up with a stinking full bin for longer. The problem is that Bristol City Council are not willing to collect plastics from peoples houses, despite the fact that this makes up the bulk of most people’s rubbish. This isn’t something we really have a choice in, as it’s the cheapest most versatile form of packaging around, so all our food/drink/shopping comes in it. The reason they won’t collect them it is down to two things:
    1) The initial cost, though as I understand it this is not particularly high and should have easily been covered by the savings due to reduction in bin collection
    2) Central Government recycling targets are set by weight, and plastic doesn’t weigh as much as cans or glass bottles.

    Hence we’re stuck with either filling up our bins almost as much as we were before all of this was introduced, but with it sitting there twice as long, or dumping it in the back of the car and driving it to the supermarket, which I refuse to do as bin collections is pretty much the only thing I can say with any certainty is still paid for by my council tax.

    Don’t even get me started on having to stack the cardboard up and it blowing all over the street…

  8. Gary Hopkins says:

    I have to suspect that some of the remarks from Dave are made tounge in cheek.As the person who designed the system in Bristol I am happy to take brickbats if any are due for that but not for the complete failure to progress the system by the present “administration”.
    Recycling rate was previously 12% it is now 36% after slipping slightly during the past year.
    The gross waste is down by 20,000 tons a year mainly because of home composting and changed habits.
    With weekly recycling collections including food the only stinking thing you could reasonably have in your bin are nappies. Recognising that not everyone will switch to reuseable/washable we proposed a weekly collection for these a year ago rejected by the administration.
    Waste collections/disposal costs which are of course part of your council tax were going to rocket anyway due to environmental taxes on landfill (imposed from EU and dumped on councils by WEstminster)
    The gross cost of collection under the present system is higher than the previous system but will be net cheaper because of the tax savings.
    Plastic bottles are light ,non smelly and are easy for people to take back to where you bought them full or nearby. (having said that more banks are needed and should have been provided by now.) General plastic banks should al;so have been provided and we had planned for these.Although light plastic takes up a lot of space and many expensive ,in cash and environmental damage,lorries would be required to cart around mainly empty air.
    You are absolutely right that the systems on the continent are far better because governments there take the problem seriously instead of passing the problem to councils and forcing them to solve the problem with at least one hand tied behind their backs.As an example a Lib Dem move in parliament to copy German law to make supermarkets responsible for their excess packaging failed to gain support from LAB/CONS,
    Sorry you do not like the system but it is the best that could be designed within central government restrictions and it is being copied by many councils. Planned improvements were also stopped by change of administration just over a year ago.
    If you are genuinely having problems phone up council waste and streetscene and ask for help and if they do not give it let me know.

  9. matthew mark luke and jon says:

    Good God Gary, you really are one of the most pompous individuals ever to grace Bristol City Council, and I would imagine that takes some doing. You ‘designed’ the system did you? Drew it up, did all the hard work? Collected the bins? Designed that ridiculous characature of that moustachioed chap with a whistle to slap on the bins of transgressors? Oh wait, you probably did do that.

    I’m sure the Council officers who did all the proper work will be interested to hear that all their work was in fact carried out by an international ten-pin bowler come financial adviser from Knowle Park. Mind you, I bet they’ve still not stopped laughing after the Evening Post imaginatively mocked you up as a rat a couple of years ago.

    You really are wasted on the Council, and should perhaps consider applying to become the Almighty.

  10. Gary Hopkins says:

    Oh calamity! Savaged by a bunch of dead sheep, or is it one anonymous political oppoment.
    The serious point though is that those contributors who say that government targets are arbritary do have a point. Government has applied a big stick in terms of fines but the only carrot is a bribe to get us to buy a staggeringly inefficient and damaging incinerator and con the Bristol public into feeding it and paying for it for the next 25 years.
    The old consensus is that we should go along with this I ,and many others say no.
    The conventional wisdom ,as expressed by the officer corps at the time would not have designed a waste system as we have in Bristol now. Fortunately there were enough progressive voices ,to supply interesting new ideas. The difficuilt bit was fitting these together and making it happen.
    Whether Bristol ,and neighbouring councils decide to go down the route of waste reduction,high recycling and small local waste facilities or the Labour route of minimal recycling and throwing it all in the incinerator will be hugely influenced by a debate on 9/9 at the council house.Meeting kicks of at 6.00 . Come and express your views.

  11. Dave says:

    The problem is Gary that my bin gets just as full as it did before, but is now emptied half as often, and I expect most are in the same position. I *already* recycled tins and bottles before bin collections were reduced and the recycling scheme was introduced, I don’t really throw much food away as what I buy I generally eat, so it then follows that nearly all of my rubbish is, and always has been, plastic packaging. I live in a shared house with 4 other people and we generally live very seperate lives, which includes cooking seperately – 2 weeks worth of 5 people’s waste just can’t fit in a wheelie bin – but the council will only give us a bigger one if there are 6 living here. Once it gets full and the lid is pushed up by black bags, trust me, it stinks.

    I also fail to see why I should “do the council’s job for them” by taking my own waste plastic to plastic recycling banks. If that’s the case and I should be doing this, what on earth is the “refuse collection” portion of my Council Tax paying for? Surely if they just used normal rubbish trucks with the compactor to collect plastics, compacting it along the way, they wouldn’t be “carting empty air around”?

    Finally, what’s the advantage of an incinerator over landfill? Surely both are equally as damaging to the environment? I’m guessing then this is down to the EU’s landfill fines – though if recent news stories are to be believed, recycled stuff gets buried in landfill as well, just by other countries like India and China which are happy to do so.

  12. Shirley's Bag Carrier says:

    Surely that should read “failed financial adviser”? A new career in designing rubbish disposal beckons – perhaps he should start with the LibDem Front Bench.

  13. Gary Hopkins says:

    I appreciate the difficuilty in a shared house.Sounds like you are doing more than some of your housemates. The origonal way that we approached non standard situations was by a “waste doctor” who would visit,asses,advise and if necessary provide a flexible solution.That should still be available but I know the effort into assistance has been thin recently.
    The smells from the bin suggest that it contains food waste . Sympathies if 1 or more of your housemates are not using the brown bin (or bins because these and black boxes can be duplicated,) as that will cause problems.An extra brown bin would help with your stray cardboard by the way.
    Special compacter lorry collections for plastic bottles are technically possible but feindishly expensive and guess who pays.
    We should by now have banks for “other plastic” but I am afraid our proposal was rejected.
    There are some other plastic products that could be put with the bottles but labelling is so poor and confusing that there would inevitably be an unacceptable mix.
    As there is a market for the bottles it helps to cover costs and mixed plastic has little market at present.
    Heat treating residual waste recovers some energy and stops damaging organic waste going into landfill and producing methane and other ground contaminations.
    An incinerator is an inefficient way to treat the waste but it this governments lazy way of avoiding EU fines for landfill.
    Although some councils have been cavalier as to where their recyclates finish up Bristol have a good track record on this and the collection method means that “clean”products are in demand and some cost is recovered.

  14. Kirk says:

    “We should by now have banks for “other plastic” but I am afraid our proposal was rejected.”

    I recently emailed the council and suggested a solution. Since bottles get collected from our doorstep weekly, there really is no need for huge bottle banks across the city. For the cost of 200 stickers that say “Plastics” all these bins could be repurposed for plastic recycling and collection- What’s that saying? Reduce, REUSE, recycle…

    Suffice to say, the council don’t appear to have taken up my suggestion.

  15. Gary Hopkins says:

    A lot of the glass bottle banks are needed because of flats where it is difficuilt to provide a full recycling service. In fact there is a huge backlog of providing mini recycling centers which is crazy as once they have been installed the money from the material sales covers the collection costs and they reduce landfill.

  16. BristleKRS says:

    Both the recycling and waste collection services at my block of flats has got worse in the last year.

    The plastic recycling bins we used to have in our mini recycling centre (that’s centre, Gary 😉 ) were removed. I was (eventually) told by my housing association that the contractor who had provided the collection service had withdrawn it.

    Neither BCC nor any of the recycling quangos earning pennies on the council tax pound from Bristol’s waste ‘strategy’ seemed the slightest bit interested when I asked them for answers, suggestions or helpful hints, beyond (and here I paraphrase, because cyberspace is too small, precious and finite to use up too many pixels on meaninglessly trite buzz words) “take it down t’dump”.

  17. Spectator says:

    What puzzles me is how BCC claim that door to door plastics recycling would be uneconomic… yet on Radio 4 and in the Times I hear that companies have now begun to mine for plastics in old landfill sites in the US, and that this is being looked at here in the UK too.

    Apparently discarded mixed plastics sell at £200 per tonne. If it makes economic sense to buy old landfill sites and mine them, it must also be economic sense to collect it on a street basis – I find it difficult to bellieve that collection costs are greater than the cost of mining the stuff.

  18. Gary Hopkins says:

    The cost/return balance is changing all the time . If you can get a lot of saleable material together,like in a glass bottle or can bank that is ideal and actually saves money.The service needs to be constantly reviewed but of course councils are not very good at moving quickly and sometimes price movements are temporary.
    Part of the problem is poorly developed local recycling factories which means that you have to add on extra transport costs.
    I am very disappointed to here of reduction in service. The council contracts for the company RECRESCO to station and empty the banks. I am suprised if plastic banks are being removed and if you send me details I will make “enquiries”

  19. Peter Goodwin says:

    Spectator: Funny you should mention that about landfill mining. I’ve just put a press release on the Greens’ website that refers to the same story, along with other stuff that shows up the lunacy of planning to burn our rubbish for the next 25-30 years.

    The URL (if this works!) is

  20. Pingback: How does news break in Bristol? : PR

  21. Chris Hutt says:

    When the Evening Post article based on this thread appeared on-line on 13th August I twice tried to post a comment suggesting that they might like to give credit for the piece to the bristol blogger. But nothing registered on the site. I guess they had a block set up on posts with the words bristol blogger in them.

  22. Matt says:


    No such problems at PR Bristol!


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