Monday, January 08, 2007

Reactionary Recycling Rats?

"Squalid: Recycling 'mania' has sparked a plague of rats" is the picture caption for a Daily Mail article from Friday last week. Interestingly the actual article reflects the real story - that the lack of a free rat-catching service in most councils has caused the country's rat population to soar - but obviously some sub-editor has decided that it would suit the Mail's readership for it to be the fault of smelly hippies and bearded do-gooders (see my picture - right - they're talking about me).

Home composting and recycling did appear (at number 7) on the list of other contributing factors in the original report by the National Pest Technicians Association. In particular they singled out 'alternative weekly collections' of residual waste (ie the bits you can't put in your recycling box/bin). I've certainly never seen a rat get into a closed wheelie bin, although do I hear they're crafty buggers. Compost bins on 'soft ground' are blamed for feeding rats, but I'd rather have a few rodents around than climate change.

Who should ride to the rescue but everyone's favourite Tesco-bothering thesp, Jane Horrocks. According to the BBC, 'launching a campaign to recycle 90 million Christmas cards, Ms Horrocks said: "It is absolute rubbish. I've got two compost bins and I haven't seen a rat in all the time I've had them."'

Looks as if the "this Green stuff isn't all it's cracked up to be" angle for populist hacks (and Jezza Clarkson and various PR companies representing vested interests) is going to run for a while yet. I'll leave the last word to our Jane:

"I've not seen a rat but I do smell a rat."

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