Modica has launched a recycling scheme onto its hapless residents in possibly the worst way imaginable. Without any warning, other than a sticker on the old fashioned street bins. In the summer, and without any public education. In other places a seachange of this sort would have been preceded by the participation of schools and a raft of public information meetings and literature. Not here. It started without so much as a whisper, and has gone downhill from there.
There are numerous problems with the new collection.
First and foremost, the bins are too small for their purpose. The old mega bins were emptied every day, now we have smaller ones which arent. You need a key for them – but the comune failed to send out the letters they say they have. Bear in mind I take the mail for 52 clients in my office, and not one letter arrived.
The black – non recyclable bin – has now disappeared in the town – we are on biweekly doorstep collections. Except we aren’t. The doorstep collection is in fact taking your barcoded bin to the nearest point where a bin van may pass. In MOdica even bin vans cant negotiate the hundreds of stairs in the old town – which means lugging your bin down or up many stairs after 10pm and before 6am, and then retrieving it once emptied. If you lose your bin, you must go to the police and make a formal denuncia.
Now of course all this forgets the fact that any good Sicilian may die if rubbish is kept in the house for more than 30 minutes. With a twice weekly collection, the good burghers of Modica therefore bung their rubbish in the nearest available bin (if they have a key) or as close to the bins as they feel necessary. The system ignores a fundamental mindset of southern Italians, and that won’t change any time soon.
In the countryside we still have the big non recyclable bins which are used by townies desperate to chuck their stuff away and by people from neighbouring towns.
Then there is the small point of whether all of this is worth the 4 millino euros it is costing us, the taxpayer. Plastic and aluminium has been recycled for ages now – but with the new system we learn how much plastic is actually recyclable – an appallingly low figure. The rest would be incinerated should Sicily have an incinerator, which is doesnt. Instead it is put into landfill. For everything else which shouldnt be tipped into a big hole in the ground, we are told to take a morning off work and take it to the rubbish collection centre. Yeah, right. It goes in any available bin.
The whole system is a disaster for everyone other than those who make brightly coloured bins – which are now placed at strategic points around the city to detract totally from the baroqueness and general prettiness. Modica is, at the height of summer, a plastic playground.