Small but ready to conform

This little kingdom of only 5.5 million souls, it has to be said, is a mèlange of the clichèed sublime and gorblimey; rarely making the international meeja top ten in anything but happiness and nordic noir eccentricity. The last week’s front-runners were a murderous submariner and a national ban on the rarely-seen burqa, both stories remarkable for their otherworldliness.

But mundane rubbish is a Danish fortè! Shoppers have to stump up 30p for a supermarket plastic bag – so they usually don’t. All plastic bottles and cans for drinks carry a returnable deposit. So that leaves wine bottles and food jars to be collected from separate bins by the sometimes friendly trashman, along with paper – which does not include cardboard! That has to be deliverd to a local refuse sorting facility – which is highly organised and sanitised for our delectation (see above).

These ‘recycling centres’ are conveniently situated near district heating plants which burn household rubbish (inter alia) – all public/private intitiatives that really work! Pity the tax collections are not as clear and efficient! Maybe next year, eh?

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

15 thoughts on “Small but ready to conform”

  1. I read about the burqa ban – in my view quite sensible… and have no knowledge about the murderous submariner.

    Our State government has banned plastic bags from some time next year. I own to having a real problem with that. Bio-degradable bags have been around for a very long time – and I see the ban as being just another way of retailers stinging their customers.

    Some time ago, the major fabric retailer in Oz decided to ban plastic bags. As both my daughter and I pointed out we thought that since we had spent in excess of $250 dollars on fabric, cottons and zips the least the company could do was provide us with a bag to take our goodies away – and I still think we were right. Incidentally, they changed their policy – but are, no doubt, just waiting for the law to change.

    Who has responsibility for paying the deposit on plastic bottles and cans? I’m sure you remember when we took bottles back to the shop and got the refund? In SA, there is a refund on bottles and cans – but one has to take them to out-of-the-way places. Most people simply don’t bother…

    … and you think I’m joking? There was an article in the paper last week that some millions of dollars in small change are literally thrown away because people can’t be bothered to carry short change.

    I love the idea of recycling – but not if it’s going to cost me money.

  2. Boa, the burqa ban here is quixotic ideology! There are very few ‘culprits’.

    The retailer adds the deposit fee to the bill and a machine in the same shop receives the empties and refunds the deposit in full. So it costs the shopper nothing. Simples.

  3. Boa, Fantastic business potential from your DT story. How about buying an automatic change sorting machine and travelling round and collecting everybody’s loose change? If you offered to pay them 95% of the value of the amount you collected, the remaining five percent of four hundred and sixty six million annually would keep the wine cellar reasonably well stocked would’t it? 🙂

  4. Janus – that’s exactly how recycling deposits should work – one really should not have to drive to a local recycling depot to get the refund!

    JL – I have been embarrassing both Bearsy and my daughter for years by counting out vast amounts of loose change from my purse – despite the fact that most shops really appreciate the shrapnel!

    I have finally given up – and simply throw it all into a huge tin, which I will open when it becomes too heavy to lift – and will then book an incredibly expensive holiday somewhere…

  5. In France it is easy to dispose of small change in the stamp machines in post offices, though no more than twenty coins at a time. And shops are frequently very keen, often desperate, to be given small change. Here in England it’s the machine in the library where one can pay fines for late returns and the fee for reserving books. that is happy to accept coppers. But the recycling depots never look as neat and tidy as the one in your photo, Janus, and not a pikey in sight.

  6. Sheona, the Tesco in Hove has a machine for converting small change – but since it takes, I think, 8% of the money I put in – I refused to use it… and just counted out all my Mum’s coppers, etc at the tills. Most of the places I do this (be it in Oz or the UK) are very happy with it – since they always seem to have a shortage of change, not surprising if people are throwing it away.

    Mind you, here in Oz, coins of 1 and 2 cents were withdrawn some years ago. Our lowest denomination is five cents. Any bill at 5 c and under is rounded down, and any bill at 6 c and above is rounded up. Works pretty well and does cut down on the shrapnel in the purse.

    I think Oz does try with its recycling. Our local recycling place – known as a ‘Recovery Resource Centre’ is pretty well organised – definitely no pikeys. We get 6 free visits a year, and thereafter have to pay. But our last visit was all ‘recyclable’ and therefore, free. The very best facility is the kerb-side collection – where we can put just about anything and everything, old bedsteads, TVs and other junk on the kerb – and the council will take it away.

    Thanks for the link, Janus – has anyone worked out why?

  7. Boadicea: In Hunland the system is very well organised. Plastic bottles come with wither a 15-cent or 25-cent deposit. They can be returned for a full refund at any supermarket and many authorised shops. All else will be picked up on regularly scheduled days either as a matter of routine or with an appointment. The California system is rather more mendacious. Deposits of 5 or 10 cents are levied, but the state has shuttered almost all recycling centres. The few remaining ones are generally located in extremely inconvenient,hard-to-reach places. As a result most simply toss it in their plastic recyclable bins and lost the money.

  8. Boa, the Danish deposit is 1 – 2.5 koner, depending on size. That’s 8.5 – 20 pence in real money.

    The banks have change machines that eat the coins and issue a chit at full value, payable into an account.

    The trial of the submurderer is eagerly awaited. Nobody attempts to guess his motives but it’s a dark story.

  9. Retailers here, both large and small, in need of coin are obliged to purchase it from the bank, therefore there are wildly complex transactions at the counter or check out desk to extract the maximum amount of shrapnel from the customer who is invited (sometimes expected), for example on the purchase of items for €7.26 with a ten Euro note, to provide an extra €2.26 in coins in return for a five Euro note in change.

    It works well – provided you have a penchant for, and a very good grasp of mental arithmetic.


  10. As I understand it, Christopher, recycling in Hunland is very well organised – with packaging reduced to a minimum – as it should be everywhere!

    I object strongly to a system of imposing a deposit for recyclables and then having to drive miles to get the deposit back – it is sheer profiteering.

    OZ, I’ve been doing that for years – much to embarrassment of my daughter! I’ve more or less given up proffering $51.25 for a $36.25 bill here – because the shop assistants don’t know how to cope!

  11. Hee hee! Shop assistants need to smarten up. The Great Wolf (aged 90) was in a shop recently buying five identical items at £4.99 each. Pimply yoof behind the till said he could not process the transaction because the till was malfunctioning and would not give him a total to input. “£24.95”, said Dad promptly, “Take the five items at £5 each and deduct five pence. £24.95.” Blank stare of astonishment from yoof as simple maths whistled over his head.


  12. Yes, it’s pathetic, OZ. Frequently I’m standing with the exact amount required in my hand as the assistant presses buttons and then looks at me in wonder because I already knew what the total would be.

  13. I have never forgotten the time (pre-all-singing cah registers) when I took ten identical packs of something to the pay desk. The assistant proceeded to find his calculator to work out the total!

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