When I was a kid, recycling meant taking your bike on a journey you’d made before.
Nowadays, courtesy of Al Gore (one of few celebrities never to have lived in Balham), we’re asked to save the planet; one way, other than using less deodorant, is to have different receptacles for differing items of rubbish.
In Du Cane Court on Balham High Road, on every floor, there was a room, inside which was housed the “dust chute”. You gathered up every item of rubbish – be it Spangles wrappers or old spaniels –opened the lid of the dust chute and chucked everything through one hole into a ground floor giant dustbin, from which the idea of the Daleks came. Whilst the dustbins within Du Cane Court never wanted to master the universe, they did have more brain cells than most of the porters.
I left SW17 and the communal dust chutes of Du Cane Court to live in the oxymoronic London Borough of Sutton. Sutton is not in London. I have since emigrated further under the remit of Epsom and Ewell Council and my bin count from my youth has tripled. Just in case there is another war I have be-friended poeple who still live in the London Borough of Sutton. A new recycling system has recently been imposed and, as one Suttonian friend and fellow cross-trainer tells me, they have sixteen bins! They are all different colours.
There is a two-week amnesty where the residents of Sutton can make mistakes. However, there is a cloud of fear which now lurks over the town. If you’ve recently had a row with your neighbour, you can claim an extra two-weeks grace by applying to: Stasi@sutton.gov.uk/wheresyoubinisbinputtinthebinsoutwheresyoubin
For anyone moving into the area, here is the colour guide:
|Royal Blue||Old Chelsea shirts|
|Dark Red||Old clothes if you’re a butcher or surgeon|
|Yellow||Old Post-It notes|
|Peach||Stones from fruit|
|Turquoise||Any item of rubbish which is hard to spell|
|Khaki||Old Japanese soldiers who still believe the war is still raging|
|Red||Old books (geddit?)|
If you’re colour-blind and live in Sutton – get yourself an estate agent!