Recently whilst catching up with my girlfriends, Wilma began frantically rummaging in her hand bag.

Out came endless bits and pieces until eventually she pulled out what looked like a brochure of some sort.

Waving it in front of our noses she began a long and high pitched rant.

“I take it you’ve received the latest obscure list of never-ending instructions from the council?”

I wasn’t sure what she was rambling on about so said nothing and, as no one else uttered a word…...

“This,” she was still waving the brochure in the air.

“This bloody thing.”

“What is it?” I dared to ask.

“It’s the latest instructions on how to recycle our household rubbish.”

Well, I hadn’t received a copy so was none the wiser.

But that didn’t stop Wilma.

“Apparently……….. Listen to this girls,” she motioned for us to gather round.

“We are now supposed to wash out our empty jars and cans before putting them in the bin.”

“Really?” Christine seemed bemused.


“And I’ll tell you a better one than that?” Our pal was bursting with the latest information.

“They say that we should rinse out our jars and cans in old washing up water.”

“Old washing up water?” queried another.

“That’s right," she smirked.

“So that we don’t waste fresh water.”

‘Well that’s a cracker,’ I thought to myself

“And once the jar is washed in old dish water we’ve then got to put it in the green lidded bin.”

Christine was trying to get to grips with this new idea of recycling.

“So we have to put jars, glass bottles and drinking glasses in the green lidded bin?”


“Drinking glasses, window glass and mirrors are not allowed in the green lidded bin.”

And before Christine could answer.

“I’ve no idea where they go as I’m confused with that one myself,” Wilma confessed as she added.

“And after you’ve eaten a yoghurt you have to rinse the tub out before you put it in the bin.”

“No way.”

“Oh yes.”

“And…….” Wilma seemed hot on the subject.

“When you have finished your pizza girls, you just can’t throw the pizza box in the bin either.”

We waited anxiously to find out what happens to our pizza boxes.

“On no.”

“If there is any food waste left then you can no longer throw away the box in your blue bin.”

“But that’s where it’s supposed to go,” I pointed out.

“Not now, because unless you scrape all food scraps out the box then it must go in to your general waste bin.”

Amanda was quick to admit.

“No worries for us then because we never have any pizza waste.”

Wilma took a gulp of wine as she flicked the pages of her brochure.

“And your brown garden waste bin is a cracker because……..”

We were all ears as she added.

“You can put flowers, plants, grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, twigs, bark and small branches in it.”

“But……” she took another gulp of wine.

“You cannae put in any soil or turf.”

Christine was confused.

“But is turf not just grass with some soil stuck to it.”

“Yes Christine grass can go in your brown bin but not the soil,” Wilma spoke to Christine as though she was tutoring an infant.

“So I’m guessing turf will go into the general waste bin.”

I decided to put Wilma’s recycling knowledge to the test.

“So Wilma, let’s say I have a box of window envelopes I need to dispose of.”

Wilma was listening intently as I questioned.

“Do I need to separate the plastic window from the paper envelope before I recycle?”

“Well Janice, I do believe the window part is what’s called a contaminant.”


“But I would need to check,” replied my smart assed pal.

“What’s a contaminant?” Mae wondered.

“Everything you put in your bin by the sounds of it,” I laughed as Amanda asked.

“Can I order a larger general waste bin Wilma?”

“Well there is a process for that too,” our recycling expert seemed happy to inform us.

“You would need to keep a waste diary for a week and submit it to the council who then decide if you qualify for a larger bin.”

“A waste diary?” Mae, like the rest of us had never heard of such a thing.

“What a palaver for a bigger bin.”

“So Wilma, I take it each of my four bins go out alternate weeks?”

“Oh no.” Somehow by now we had guessed it wouldn’t be that simple.

“Your four bins are rotated over a six week period.”

“Week one is grey and brown, week two is blue, week three is green lidded and brown, week four is green, week five is blue and brown and week six……….”

We were losing the will to live as Wilma droned on about our coloured bins when I raised my glass.

“Jeez oh girls, good luck recycling.”

Ching ching.

“Now can we please change the subject?”