Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Birmingham’s “garden tax” Nazi binmen furore: solved

Here in Birmingham (UK, not Al’A-Bama), tensions run high as Blighty gears up to a general election. Our City Council has long been profligate with cash and recently starved of money by the central government’s austerity policy, so has stopped collecting garden waste for free, and started charging £35 a year for fortnightly collections.

The problem

Thanks to advances in our understanding of quantum physics from the Large Hadron Collider, scientists have discovered that grass cuttings, plant prunings and vegetable matter will, when left in a pile and thereafter ignored, naturally decompose and add what boffins call “nutrients” into the soil. This process, known to Nobel-prizewinners as “composting”, is cheaper and easier than going out in a car and buying big plastic bags full of compost to spread on your garden.

However, “composting” is a concept so revolutionary that news of it has yet to filter out to the horticulturally-minded public who can’t afford the new £3 per month charge to collect garden waste, so naturally they throw it onto the street to rot.

Rotting matter can attract pests and vermin, and this has led to an epidemic of opportunist parliamentary wannabes berating the council for such eyesores on social media:

Why anyone should want to “put an end to” eccentric middle-aged druids in rainbow clothing kneeling in prayer to grass cuttings is beyond me; each to their own, I say. A more sinister turn of events has occurred with the local newspaper reporting that that the ex-Lord Mayor has likened council binmen to The Gestapo.

It’s getting nasty. People need to chill out.

The solution

I have a solution to the problem. The council should make it legal, or even compulsory, for residents to grow marijuana in their gardens. For the vast majority of people, their ganja harvest would far out-strip their domestic consumption, but instead of dumping the waste for Druid-Lady to mourn, they could sell it to real stoners. I’m pretty sure that a binbag full of homegrown would fetch a lot more than £35, enabling the gardeners to pay the council to take their waste and making them a tidy profit, too.

Truly, the Green Shoots of Economic Recovery™ for Birmingham’s Hard-Working Families™.

Pass the bong, please, Binman Bormann.

3 Responses to “ Birmingham’s “garden tax” Nazi binmen furore: solved ”

Comment by Julia

And in lovely, lovely never-never land garden waste is all about grass cuttings. Unfortunately that ain’t so. A lot of garden waste is privet cuttings which do NOT rot down into nice compost. ‘Burn ’em then? Yes, wonderful if you live in a terraced house with a narrow back garden (like 30% of us Brummies do) and if you are not bothered about setting trees or neighbours’ hedges on fire in a situation where you could not even get a fire engine in if you tried – lots of fun though I suppose if you think you would enjoy the exciting results.

It would seem also at present that a lot of the unwanted ‘garden’ waste is dead leaves collected from street trees. No-one seems quite sure what to do about this, and again telling people to take it all home and compost it themselves, when they may only have a small back-garden, is unrealistic – sorry.

Comment by Bruce

Julia, you seem to miss the point of my article. Those who can’t compost should grow marijuana and sell it. Even with a small back garden, that’s possible.

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