Have you considered the implications of this Ms Lucas?

Ms Lucas thinks voting, as conducted in the time-honoured manner of MPs, is a waste of time.


So now time has a value does it? It\’s something that shouldn\’t be wasted?

Then we should be calculating the time that people have to spend doing the various things they are required to do by law, shouldn\’t we? Like sort through domestic waste for recycling?

As is explained is chapter two of this intriguing little book:

An intrguing little book that shows that the value of the time spent sorting to recycle is greater than the resources saved by such recycling.

16 thoughts on “Have you considered the implications of this Ms Lucas?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I have seen the sort of voting she probably has in mind. The old Soviet Parliament, and China’s present one, can get through a year’s worth of votes in a couple of afternoons.

    Very efficient. Liberal democracies need to waste time. It is what makes them decent societies. If she wasn’t such a fool it would be worth explaining why.

  2. I don’t know how you did your recycling calculation as I haven’t (yet) got your book, but whilst I know you have a bee in your bonnet about it, personally I have no particular problem, whenever I have to bin something I put either in A B or C. It takes no time, and no effort.

    Personally I am in favour of recycling where possible and sensible.

    It is also possible that once the stuff is taken away, it is chucked in one huge pile and that would be a shame, and I strenously object to the bin police and fortnightly collections etc.

    I just feel that the minimal effort required to sort rubbish as I am in the process of binning it is a minor kind of civic responsibility.

  3. cuffleyburgers:

    “I put either in A B or C. It takes no time, and no effort”

    But it’s not a simple as that. Our local authority insists everything is sorted into five categories: glass, newspaper, dry recyclables, compostable waste and everything else. So emptying the waste bins in the individual rooms on the three floors of our home is a time-consuming business, involving sorting all waste into one of five categories. Additionally, many of the dry recyclables need to be crushed (no more than four bags in total are allowed), and/or washed so that they do not smell and attract rats when they are stored in the garden shed for a fortnight. And we have to take the glass and paper to recycling points.

    All that costs our household at least 1.5 hours a week – or £8.89 pw at the NMW (£462.54 pa).

    And what is the benefit to the environment? Well, we’d need a full environmental audit for each category. But paper is a renewable resource and recycling has environmental costs too (transport, bleaching). Recycling plastics creates a tradeable commodity, but how much oil is actually saved given the collection and transportation by road and the oil used in shipping the stuff to China? Recycling scrap metal looks like a good idea, particularly aluminium perhaps. And as for compost, why should I pay the local council to compete with the local garden centre?

    And as for reducing landfill, there’s no shortage of landfill in the UK, if the EU would let us use it.

  4. cuffleyburgers,

    Personally I am in favour of recycling where possible and sensible.

    Great. You do it, then. I’m sure that Gaia will look down on you and smile.

    For me, it’s not the time, it’s the complexity of what can and can’t be recycled, mostly for stuff that isn’t even worth recycling (like plastic and paper).

    The whole drive is simply about reducing stuff going to landfill to meet the EU directive. That’s why people are talking about slop buckets, despite the fact that food in a landfill will get taken care of just fine.

  5. Our council has backed off a little – down to three wheelie bins rather than the earlier two bins and two open-topped boxes. Mind you, some streets look like permanent wheelie-bin forests.

  6. “And we have to take the glass and paper to recycling points.”

    Glass- I learned from our council that none of the glass was’recycled’. It was crushed & used in road surfacing which meant that the sorting into colours was a complete waste of time. Proved by the collection lorries not having load separators.

    Paper- For years I had maintenance deals with some solicitors offices, painting etc . One of the services I provided was getting rid of time expired filing – correspondence etc. At first I charged for removal & sold the paper to a paper recycling company. About £40 ton rings a bell. Then it was 20. Then it was nothing but “we’ll take it off yer hands guv”. Last visit they charged me. If no-one wants nice clean high quality A4 stacked in boxes who wants newsprint & grubby paper towel?

  7. But thats the little people’s time. The time of members of the Politburo (sorry Members of Parliament) is much more important than that. I think MP only roads should be the next thing, to allow MPs on vital State business quick access to wherever they need to go.

  8. “Glass- I learned from our council that none of the glass was’recycled’.”

    I had heard that clear glass was recycled, the rest being re-used in road construction. I’ve seen separated loads around here. But then why separate brown from green glass if it’s all going into road construction? Odd.

  9. Some of the glass gets ground down and added to grit for use cold weather. Apparently, very smooth spheres of glass help with traction. Not the most obvious choice, you’d think.

    (I found this out because some of the glass doesn’t get ground down properly, so that it is pointy little shards of glass instead, and still gets added to the grit. And then it’s puncture city for cyclists.)

  10. Also tins and bottles have to be clean before you put them into the recycling bin. For some things that means rinsing them out. For other tins it means scrubbing them.

  11. I put all the shite that my single-occupier household creates in a black sack and leave it on the kerb twice a week. When I come home in the evening, it’s gone. Where? Who the fuck cares? Does it go in a big hole? Do they burn it? Do smut-stained orphans go rag-picking through my detritus? A sane individual gives this no more than an idle thought.

    The sorting into multiple categories falls more into the camp of conspicuous religious observance than anything else. There was a brilliant episode of Penn and Teller’s Bullshit! where they showed the cravenness of most people by touting a policy where there would be some ridiculous number of categories of waste (like fifteen or so). People had been so brainwashed that they reflexively kow-towed despite the obvious idiocy of such a scheme.

  12. Nah, I sort of agree with her. Was watching this afternoon on the votes on the regulation of cheap short term credit debate (which, obviously, I very much agree with you on), and my stepdaughter was sat next to me.

    Explain to a 7-year-old why declaring yes or no to a simple question takes 15 minutes was, well, interesting. (I’d told her she could play on the Wii once the results were in, so she was especially interested in the time it took).

    Now, assume an MP does a 40 hour week. We know many do more, some, well, are known to turn up on occasions.

    15 minutes for a vote, they make about £30 an hour, and 250ish MPs voted. Just in salary alone, that’s about £2000. When they could have spent a single minute pressing a button on some sort of device.

    I’m with Cuffley on the whole time taken to recycle thing, our LA has a fairly simple scheme that doesn’t take much effort at all, and I only put the rubbish out when an individual bag is full, not every time. Paul’s LA appears to have a silly way of doing things. Obviously, we’re a fairly low waste household, but…

  13. Although I agree with Tim that there should be a survey (and it’s rather damning of the finances of the Adam Smith Institute that it can’t pay YouGov a few thousand to do one) I think he is too modest about the implications of the survey on which he based his estiamte of recycling times.

    For one it suggests that the BBC is tremendous value. The average household watches it for about 10 hours a week, or £58 at NMW, much higher than the licence fee. For another, the survey that Tim likes to quote shows that people were on average willing to pay to recycle, suggesting they either like it, could do it whilst doing other things, or were willing to work for negative amounts (!).

  14. Personally, I’m of the opinion that the more time they waste hanginag around waiting to vote the better… It leaves them less time for thinking up yet more ways to encroach on our liberty.

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