Freezers to replace wheelie bins

Just a week after Swindon Borough Council suggested doubling the number of plastic bags used for throwing away rubbish, we now have an even less efficient suggestion from a local resident: freeze your rubbish, then put it in your wheelie the night before collection. Ms Harris, whose idea this is, seems to be rather proud of her ‘logic’ in coming up with this idea.

I’ve done it ever since I’ve had a wheelie bin and I’ve never had maggots. It was an idea I just came up with myself. My husband says I apply logic to everything and it doesn’t always work, but this does.

It’s such a great idea, I’m thinking of buying an industrial freezer and providing, for a reasonable fee, maggot protection services to my neighbours…. On second thoughts, perhaps not. Let’s examine Ms Harris’ logic.

It’s simple. Instead of throwing away old plastic containers, that you get things like strawberries in, keep them. Put all your scrap foods and bits and bobs from your plate into the container…

That assumes you buy sufficient amounts of overpackaged food to store the scrap food in. It also assumes that the problem waste is sufficiently dry not to leak out of the container.

then put them in the corner of the freezer.

The corner of the freezer? Just how big a freezer is this? Someone cooking meals daily could easily generate more than just a ‘corner’ of waste in one fortnight. Those not doing serious cooking but reheating pre-packaged food are likely to have large amounts of bulky soiled packaging even less suitable for this treatment. And placing waste in proximity to waste: I’m sure the Health & Safety wonks would have a fit about that. Freezing significantly slows the decay process, it doesn’t totally stop it.

Anything frozen will not attract vermin or maggots or anything.

In a fortnight, true, but until it freezes you’ve got waste potentially oozing whatever contamination it already has over food in the freezer.

I’ve done it ever since I’ve had a wheelie bin and I’ve never had maggots.

There’s as much sense to that as there would be to burning all food just to avoid the risk of it being undercooked. Admittedly, the council’s own suggestion of double-wrapping rubbish is not much better.

According to Swindon Borough Council’s own figures, each week’s rubbish collection costs less than 75p per household.* Anything that costs more to prevent the maggot infestations is a step backwards in efficiency from the well-known Victorian solution to the problem.†

*Up to 1 tonne of rubbish per household per year with the cost of collection in 2004/05 (in the era of weekly collections) £38.62 per tonne.
†Yes, I know just a minority of households have suffered wheelie bin infestation, but the council’s advise is to everyone, not just the afflicted few.