I have seen an interesting aspect of recycling here since coming over.
In the UK, other than the basic weekly recycling collections, if you have anything that is past its useful lifespan (and you don’t want to sell it) then you can take it to your local council tip (recycling centre). Some people make a business of having permission to pick things up from this source and sell them on.
In NZ, the council do a collection once per year whereby you put anything you want them to take by the roadside and they will take it away. This reveals a curious part of culture…and maybe not a positive.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure after all…but when you see people scouring the heaps of junk (which can be anything!) strewn down the pavements, doing the collection rounds picking up anything that looks of relatively decent standard and filling their cars and trucks to the brim…well, the good is that this stops it ending up in landfill but you get a sense that what is happening here is a sign of real poverty.
In NZ, one in four children (around 400,000 of them) is listed as living in poverty, there are charities set up specifically to ensure these kids get a school lunch. Bearing in mind that this is a developed country, this is a staggering statistic. It is easy to say this but if you can’t afford kids, don’t have them!
I went to a small discount grocery store recently whose entire stock was close to or past the best before date. I am not sure you are allowed to sell stock like this in the UK. Granted most of this was canned goods or non-perishables but it still struck me as filling an important niche somewhere.
Every country has its own set of problems and I think it is important to make everyone aware that NZ is not all beautiful scenery, Haka and rugby matches.