Thursday, January 7, 2010


When I met my good friend Prospero to chew the cud over breakfast in Jimena’s Vecina Bar last week he mentioned that later in the day he was going with a mutual friend to the local Punto Limpio recycling centre. What exciting lives we two old hacks lead – but the point is the fact that it was part of his day’s agenda didn’t seem in the least out of the ordinary.

The reason I mention this is that two out of every three residents of Andalucía say they recycle their household waste of paper, glass and plastic “as a matter of habit”. Those are the conclusions of the Ecobarómetro de Andalucía 2009 produced by the Institute of Advanced Social Studies for the region’s ministry of the environment.

Of those questioned 65.3per cent said they sorted out their household waste for recycling whilst 27 per cent admitted they didn’t recycle at all.

Women are the most committed recyclers in the household (68.7 per cent) compared with men (62.4 per cent). Those aged between 45 and 59 years are tops in protecting the environment with 73.7 per cent sorting out their household items before disposal.

The better educated members of society seem to be taking the lead with 80.2 per cent with a university degree saying they recycle their waste compared with 56.7 of those with standard schooling.

So what is the profile of the non-recycler? According to the Ecobarometer he is male, under 30 without any further education. This same group says it is not worried about the environment.

Well you know what they say about statistics but what surprises me about these findings is that it seems to be the older generation – like Prospero and my good self, well educated coves that we are – who are in the vanguard here.

If you’d ask me to take a guess I would have said it was the youngsters who are the committed recyclers –but it seems “we” are the trend setters – and it’s many a year since either of us held that title!


CraftyPip said...

I believe that as a young person we all feel invunerable, and that the nasty things in life happen to someone else and those people not so nice as ourselves. So no amount of preaching on the merits of saving the environment are going to be heard by those who believe that it is anothers´ responsibility to clear up after them. Let´s face it so long as it ultimately goes into the rubbish bin, it will be sorted at the waste depot..won´t it? The difficulty in encouraging recycling is that the benefits are not more openly visible.
As we slow down the pace of life, we allow more time to reflect on what we are achieving and look to how we can preserve the future for ourselves.
Whether it´s due to a gentle nudge from our conscience or by education, we try to redeem ourselves from our past guilty actions in a hope that we will be tangibly rewarded.
It is said "the older ..the wiser", and this appears to be the case as we wend the way to our ultimate conclusion.

Mary said...

Okay- so what are you two trying to redeem yourselves of/from? I would have said you two old codgers but that’s a bit near home to be comfortable. My home recycling corner is beginning to look like Steptoes yard and I am not even sure I put them in the right holes when I get there. Mostly wine bottles, can’t be fagged with that rinsing out of milk cartons and have cut my hand on too many cat and dog food tins thinking of those who have to watch the stinking stuff go past on a belt to risk lockjaw. Now that the wine bottles are all full of rain, it’ll be another 6 months before they get binned. Intentions are good, maybe that’s a good new year resolution- don’t wait 6 months to drag it all to the recycling site.

CraftyPip said...

OLD CODGERS...I take that as a compliment, as at the age of 26 , my sister referred to me as an old wrinkly....well it was more like the retort which was made when another said I looked like a million dollars... and she replied, " wha,t green and wrinkly"
I have been an exponent of the recycling bug all my life. My wife is quite often at her wits end with all the items I dismantle and re use for other I have gauged my reply on what I have gleaned from others attitude to the good intent and lack of motivation. It is just that problem which I´m trying to point out and the lack of incentives to encourage what is a very beneficial project for all our futures.

Mary said...

Oh Crafty Pip, a man after my own heart- all those jam jars with bits of copper wire, screws and bits of string too long to throw away and someone might be glad of that pole, piece of sheet metal, cardboard box... as if they didn´t have enough of their own junk or someone wise enough to bin it.

Prospero said...

Mary, you've been looking at some of my shelves, haven't you? Among the rusting screws and bits of string, you may well have seen my best-left-alone attempts at marmalade making, too, not to mention the cardboard boxes full of stuff that needs to go to the garage to join all the other stuff stuffed in there but haven't yet made it to the Punto Limpio.
But I have to agree with my friend CraftyPip, without whom my life and my blog would be bleak indeed. Speaking for myself, though, I confess to a certain nudge of conscience. Having been brought up in a place and at a time when the word environment was not in my dictionary, and having myself and my generation messed it up considerably, I do (occasionally) wonder what sort of world I will be leaving behind for my children, marmalade notwithstanding.
(Note to Sancho: looking forward to our next cud...)

Mary said...

Prosepro! Don´t throw away the marmalade-in a few more years it might be the new Worcestershire sauce.