Council’s crazy policy at centre trashes the recycling ideal

One of the recycled sinks after its transformation.
One of the recycled sinks after its transformation.

This week, kitchens again. Not the one that’s so very nearly almost just about finished at Shoogly Towers, but the old (very shoogly) Shoogly Towers kitchen (and utility).

Having seen other folk put their old kitchens they are having ripped out on Free Goods in the Scottish Borders and Freecycle, I decided that while it might look clapped-out to me, perhaps with some upcycling/top-class joinery skills might be someone else’s idea of kitchen heaven.

So, I offered the lot on the excellent Facebook page, Free Goods in the Scottish Borders. It was really interesting to see where it was going and what would be made of it all. First of all, a girl got in touch about the utility, on behalf of her dad. The lovely dad without a kitchen turned up and took the lot in two trips. Chatting as you do, it emerged he was a dab hand at building sheds and chicken coops, and was going to adapt it. And I am sure by now he has made a really good job of it.

But perhaps the most interesting, delightful ‘small world’ fact to emerge from the conversation was that he had seen our Patterdale terrier Jock in the paper - in this very column, to boot - a couple of times, and recognised his own dog in Jocky Boy. It turned out he had owned Jocky’s grandsire and bred Jocky’s mum.

Next were two lovely ladies both in need of a large sink with drainer and taps. So that took care of the utility and kitchen sinks. The first sink was handed over to a third party to pass on during kiddie swimming lessons at the Kelso pool. The second (in my magnanimity) I dropped off into the recipient’s garden at her farm cottage whilst I was out and about in town.

Oddly enough, they were both to be used as ‘outdoor mud kitchens’ for kids to muck about in; one was for a playgroup, the other for a grandson. What a brilliant idea. They can mix up the muddiest of mud pies and then messily ‘wash up’ to their hearts’ content.

The bulk of the kitchen went to another lady and was picked up by men with vans. They also took a lot of the spare wood and other bits and pieces we’d flung out. Brilliant. Saved a trip to the tip. And that brings me on to the actual, real-live point of this column. As a child of the 70s I always call them tips, the right name for proper old-fashioned landfill. Its proper Sunday name is the Community Recycling Centre, and it appeared in the last year up beyond Saino’s and Lloyd’s Land Rover.

Fab for us Kelso-ites, who now don’t have to trail go the tip, erm, I mean Recycling Centre, at Galashielsville. So off Mr E and I set, with the remaining bits and pieces of rubbish that no-one in their right mind would want to ‘recycle, reuse’.

As someone who hates waste in any form, whether it’s stuff or food, I was appalled to see a girl’s bicycle lying in the skip for waste metal. It was purple, with shiny chrome wheels and handlebars, and was so new-looking it still had the spikes of rubber on the tyres that new tyres have. The chain was off and hanging down. A quick fix, surely?

Gobsmacked, I asked the employee who had helped us if they took things like that out of the skips and gave them to folk wanting them. No, he said. Once it was in the skip, that was it. To take it out was stealing. A CCTV camera was watching, to make sure this didn’t happen.

How completely and utterly daft is that? So a nearly-new bike which could have been fixed up and made some wee girl’s Christmas, was away to the crusher. When my friend the lovely Yvette lived in Devon she said that bikes binned there were fixed up and sent to charities. So why not here? At the very least the owner could have stuck it on Free Goods in the Scottish Borders and passed it on to someone who did want it. If people want a clapped-out 30-year-old kitchen, I am absolutely certain they would want nearly-new bicycle. Come on SBC, sort this out or we might as well goes back to the bad old days.