The Problem with Recycling...

... is often finding a local waterside recycling point.

We're keen environmentaslists here at Sheffield Narrowboats, so are our customers and the vast majority of boaters in general.   The number one comment we get however, is to do with the overall lack of easily accessible waterside recycling points for paper, plastics, metals, glass and compostable waste.

It's therefore smashing to hear from two of our current customers (Jean and Steve) regarding waterside recycling points on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at both Enam Wharf and by the Pendle Borough Council offices.  Apparently the site at Enam Wharf also offers a big yellow bin for waste oil. (Find out more about the importance of recycling waste oil here).

In my opinion this is a good, but rare find.  There's absolutely no reason why almost all waste cannot be recycled provided there is the motivation to do so, motivation encouraged by providing access to recycling facilities.  There also needs to be easier ways for boaters to plan where they're going to find such facilities, as a few days isn't too long to wait, whereas a couple of weeks isn't really a good idea.  The postcode lookup method is fine when you're at home, but out on the waterways it's not always easy to know the postcode of your mooring in a few days time!  :-)

Such facilities also need to be, quite literally "waterside", as boaters cannot be expected to carry several bags to be recycled for a great distance - most recycling points are very easily accessible by, car.

Initiatives such as The Green Blue are great for raising awareness amongst boaters and those involved in the waterways industries, however the main issue facing the inland waterways isn't anything to do with boaters - it's to do with fly-tipping.  Various 'Directives' and 'Regulations' have created barriers to 'easy' waste disposal, often incurring an expense for small businesses and householders.  This acts as an incentive to not use established waste disposal and recycling facilities.  Canals, often being remote yet easily accessible by road, offer an ideal and convenient dumping ground for anything from an old sofa, to toxic industrial chemical waste.

Another factor governing the pollution levels in our canals and rivers is related to the fact that as soon as British Waterways remove the debris, it becomes industrial waste, and British Waterways have to pay to dispose of it.  With their serious budget restraints, this is money that should really be used for maintenance and restoration.  This blog entry could easily turn into a rant from here on...

... but it won't.  I'll stop now - but with the invitation for anyone reading this to leave a comment below if you know of a waterside recycling point.  Simply say where it is (location, navigation, GPS co-ordinates if you have them) and what it offers in terms of facilities.  I'll collate these into a list and pop it in our library.

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