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Recycling: Food, clothes and Electronics Thrown Away by Retailers - Change your attitude and make a difference.
Supermarket Bins Full Of Food.
We live in a society that is constantly bombarded with the words Save the Planet, Recycle, Carbon Footprint, etc and so on. Food is automatically more expensive when it is labelled Organic. And of course these days in England, we are charged a small amount of money to buy plastic shopping bags to carry our food after we have already spent pounds in the shop in question. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't mind adding a few pence to my bill if it is for good things, like Save the Rain forest, or Give to Animals. Who would? But something has come to my attention recently that is beginning to drive me mad! In fact it is beyond belief. People are starving in the world, local pensioners have to go without because for the simple reason that they don't receive enough pension money, and of course in this time of recession, lot's of workers have lost their jobs.
We are all finding it hard. Even if we are lucky enough to have jobs, now that VAT has gone up to 20p in the pound, everything is so much more expensive. Recycling is one of those issues that concern all of us.
So my question is,
Why aren't Retailers doing anything?
I have been lucky enough to work for a variety of different retailers in the past. My main job has always been office work, but in times of redundancy and lack of anything in that area, I have, of course, turned to shop work. And some of it has been very rewarding. The job that I really loved doing was working in a Charity shop. I suddenly found out that I was really good at it! I had never done this sort of selling before, but all of a sudden, I realised that I could organise, place the right goods out on show, and in the space of a week, managed to nearly double the earnings!
But that was the good thing about it. One of my main jobs was to sit in the back room and sort out the big bags of 'new' clothes and ornaments that came in. There were also lots of toys and of course electronic devices. We were not allowed to sell the electronic goods just in case they were faulty. This was understandable, as we didn't want to be shut down or sued for any accidents that may have happened to the buyer. So of course we had to do something with the items.
So what did we do? Did we send them of to be recycled? No. We put them in the rubbish bin. But that was not all. If there were any clothes that were slightly stained, they had to go too. Obviously there were quite a few of these, and to be fair, we did send them to the recycling firm. But a lot of them were 'unsuitable', so in the bin they went.
Charity Shops Throw Away Your Generosity.
I wasn't there that long, so was unaware of what happened at that time to other goods. Since then I have found out that there are lots of things going in the bins. Out of curiosity, I have a friend there that allowed me to go and investigate, I went there after dark to look in the bins. And I was horrified. There were lamps, books, CDs, DVDs and lots of clothes and bags.
And they were all going to be sent to the rubbish tip!
And More Food!
So, out of curiosity, I decided to investigate further. I went to my local supermarkets. We are all aware that at the end of the day, the staff will put prices down on the perishable goods so that they will be sold off quickly. There are certain goods that cannot be left in the shop until the next day. Date marked sandwiches, out of date sausage rolls and of course bread. But did you know that whatever was left over at the end of the day, was automatically thrown outside into the big rubbish bins?
Evidently, there is so much food left over, it can actually fill three big industrial bins! And that is just one supermarket! There are three in my small town. Imagine that.
From Cakes To DVDs.
I have also worked in a small bakery in the past. Admittedly they allowed us to take home any baked goods that we want too, at the end of the day. But still lots of food was wasted and thrown in the bins.
But I think the final straw was what I found out today. Evidently a certain big DVD retailer, here and in the States, actually throws away thousands of DVDs at the end of every month because they are 'Out of Date'!
Not only do they throw them away, they make sure that the staff breaks up all the DVDs before putting them in the bin! This is to make sure that nobody can actually take them home. In this particular store, you can take back your DVDs and get either money for them, albeit a few pence, or instead you can have a couple of DVDs, free rental. Good for them.
So What's The Solution?
What the Retailers Should Do.
So what is the answer? Is it really necessary to throw away all the food, clothes and thousands of other goods? And why do they do it? If you ask them this question the answer is usually a very vague, 'Well, the food is stale, and needs to be thrown away' Or 'The clothes are too filthy for people to buy them'.
Here's a Thought. Give it Away!
Just think for one minute, how different it would be if the retailers and owners actually gave away all these goods.
1. Give the Food To The Pensioners and low income families.
So how could this be arranged? Easily. After the supermarkets shut for the evening, put the food on tables or in boxes, and allow pensioners or their representatives to come and pick it up. They can show prove of age with their pension books or ID. And this would work for people on welfare too. Of course, they could also give it away to anybody that wanted it. We spend enough money in their shops, it certainly wouldn't hurt them!
Volunteers could take home clothes to wash and sew up, and send them to the countries that need them. I am sure that someone living in a third world Country, or even in our own Country who has hardly any money coming in, will not be so fussy as to worry about a slight stain when they are freezing cold!
Most electrical goods have a high metal content that is perfect for making money at a scrap yard. Surely one employee can take time out to pile it all up and pack it off to the scrap yard. And any electrical goods that are mainly plastic, can be recycled back into use.
There are so many ways to make money for charity with DVDs. I cannot believe that any retailer, however big, can actually justify throwing away thousands of DVDs a month!
1. Give them to a charity shop! Obvious! Especially when there are three Charity shops in my town about 200 feet away from the DVD store!
2. Package them and send them to hospitals, orphanages, and learning centres. Children love to learn even if it is just watching Bambi. And adults who are ill or injured in Hospital would love to have something to take their minds off of their pain.
3. Give them to the local library.
4. Give them away!
Everything Must Go.
From bags to belts, toys to shoes, there is nothing that cannot be recycled. Admittedly toys have to pass certain standard tests, so cannot be resold in Charity shops or privately. But I have actually had to sort out cuddly toys, and throw most of them away because they don't conform to British standard testing. Toys can be dangerous for small children, but the cuddly toys that I dealt with were mainly foreign or hand made. In some of the cases they were perfect but because they didn't have the CE label on the side, they had to be binned. Surely they could have been given to someone who could check them vigorously and if they were fine, then given to hospitals or orphanages. Especially the woollen knitted dolls. I have actually got a few in my home, sitting on the window ledge! They were so gorgeous I couldn't bare to throw them away. With a bit of careful checking, they would have been fine.
Retailers sit up and take notice!
So how difficult was that? Surely with a bit of initiative, retailers and big money entrepreneurs can actually do something by getting off their backsides and adjusting to the world that we live in. It is hypocritical to demand that we all take care of our Carbon Footprint when they do so little to help the Country and themselves. And in the long run they will be making a profit for their own shops and stores by being generous. I am sure the general public would spend more money, and willingly, if they knew that their retailers were actually doing something to help save the World.
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