A few weeks ago I got a letter from my local household recycling centre. I wasn’t expecting them to write to me. I’ve always had a very functional relationship with the place.
If I have stuff I want to get rid of, I drive there and hurl the offending items into one of the designated areas (‘miscellaneous junk mail’ into the ‘Paper and Card’ section, ‘grass cuttings’ into the ‘Garden Waste’ section, ‘broken kettle’ into the ‘Small Appliances’ section etc. – it’s all very clearly marked out and every unwanted article can be united with other uncherished and malfunctioning items of a similar ilk).
I am a big fan of the service provided by my local recycling centre. I have more than my fair share of accumulated junk to dispose of and three years after moving into our current abode, Mrs Proclaims and I are still coming across various boxes and bags containing items that we’d both long forgotten. Indeed, we are often perplexed to discover things that we were certain we’d already thrown out.
It’s fair to say I make more than few trips annually to the recycling centre. Nonetheless, it’s a well-used facility and I’d be surprised if I was considered a ‘regular’ by the staff.
Certainly I’m not a regular enough visitor to merit much in the way of correspondence, so it was with some surprise that I received the letter.
Actually it was with complete disinterest that I received the letter. Much like with correspondence from banks and utilities companies, I was compelled by a vague notion of responsibility to actually open the envelope, but I was pretty certain that contents would be exceedingly dull at best.
I could not have been more wrong.
I mean the letter was a bit on the dull side, but the envelope also contained a car sticker.
It looked like this:
Now admittedly it’s not the most exciting sticker in the world, but a sticker is a sticker and a free sticker is always a good thing.
I particularly love a car sticker. Already my battered little Ford Ka, affectionately known as the J-Mobile (Mark 2), contains a car sticker in the form of a parking permit for a residence I no longer live at. And now the windscreen also sports the above adhesive circle.
And the above sticker means that I now have full access to my local recycling centre.
Which might seem to make it a superfluous sticker because, as previously stated, I was already a sporadic patron of said establishment.
So why do I now need this sticker? According to the accompanying letter, the local recycling centre was historically available to residents of Reading, Bracknell and West Berkshire. And it was a reciprocal arrangement so as a Reading resident, I could also use recycling centres in Bracknell and West Berkshire.
But in a recent move, not dissimilar to larger scale political events, West Berkshire decided that they no longer wanted to pay into this particular union of Local Authorities and instigated the local government ‘refuse and recycling’ equivalent of ‘Article 50’. Indeed if people within the world of waste management are not referring to this turn of events as a ‘West Bexit’ then I feel that is a missed opportunity.
Much like the forthcoming split between Britain and the EU, the jilted parties are set to make life as difficult for the departing entity as possible.
In this case, Reading and Bracknell have issued all of their residents with the above car sticker. A car sticker which entitles the bearer to continue to use the local recycling centre.
Try and enter a Reading or Bracknell based recycling centre without one of these ‘golden tickets’ and alas, you will be not be experiencing the delights of household waste recycling in this part of the world.
I was in need of the facility earlier today and duly arrived with my allocated sticker.
It seems that fears about West Berkshire interlopers were well founded because I saw a lot of people being turned away. Either that or some Reading and Bracknell residents had not remembered to display their allocated sticker. More fool them.
I am pleased to report, however, that I was waved through like royalty.
It was a genuinely pleasing experience.
Like being a member of an elite club.
Admittedly an elite club of people who like throwing stuff away.
But an elite club nonetheless.
I have more stuff to dispose of later this week.
I’m almost excited by the prospect.