Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thurs 20 May - The Bins

The Socialist cartel is alive and well in Mons, with the binmen as loyal henchmen. My reasoning? The rubbish collection of course. Or the rules surrounding it. Even more precisely, the type of bag you are supposed to put your household waste in to. I'd never really paid much attention to Mons' bin bags before...until the ones left behind by the previous tenants in my house had run out and I had to buy some new ones. I innocently bought your standard, sturdy, black types.

The result? They didn't collect them, for two weeks in a row. I noticed (by keeping a beady eye on every rubbish bag I walked past for the next week) that every single house, property and shop all put out the same particular white bin bag with red lettering marked on it. I tried, in vain, to buy these specific bags at numerous shops but couldn't find them anywhere, so I settled on any white bags I could find. And of course they didn't collect them. Then one week they did, then they didn't.

These damn bags will set you back €8.70 for 10. What kind of country thinks it's okay to charge such a ridiculous amount for bin bags? The same kind that thinks it's justified to force you to buy "their bin bags" and then charge you a stupid amount for the privilege. But, I have no choice. It's either buy their brand or never have your rubbish collected. And that's what happens when a place is run by a cartel. Long live free market capitalism and that thing called consumer choice; carefully monitored of course to prevent monopolies taking over! See "First" and its running (down) of Bristols' buses for an example of how bad they can be.


  1. Yeah dude, the tax for garbage is paid when you buy the bags. So ou only pay for what you throw away, instead of some random fee. I actually think this way is more democratic because you don't pay for the person who throws away fridges and mattresses. The white ones w/red letters are the garbage only ones and they cost more. The blue ones are for the cans, cartons and plastics and cost way less. It encourages you to throw less away and recycle more. You can get both white and blue bags at match but you have to ask the cashier. you would know all this if you read my blog ;)

  2. We have something similar here. I think it's pretty good actually since like Jessica said you don't pay for other people's crap, and it certainly makes you think twice about buying something with tons of extra packaging, etc. Also makes you think more of recycling/reusing/brocanting stuff that you might want to get rid of rather than just tossing it in the bin!

    Supposedly it's encouraged more people to compost as too, diverting green-waste from landfill. These are all good things in my mind, though I agree that 'how municipal stuff works' is not something that Belgium goes out of it's way to make clear to newcomers, which can be frustrating.

    On this, I think that Belgium should also have composting as part of the municipal strategy since there are a lot of apartment dwellers who have nowhere to compost, meaning they can't divert their organic waste.

  3. Hello Jessica (not from Mons). Wondered who this other person was who had joined my blog a couple of weeks ago. Will be taking a look at yours soon.

    Ok, maybe you both have a point. Jessica (from Mons), I know all about the blue recycling bags, and all the other things such as days for cardboard, paper etc. Don't remember you mentioning this before!

    Jessica (from Liège), you've taught me a new word: Brocante. It seems to be the French equivalent for flea markets or bric-a-brac, from what I can see.

    I'm actually really supportive of any environmental measures taken. I guess by charging a lot for the bags, it does make you try and consume or throw away less. And of course stuff for compost is also important. In Bristol where I lived before we recycled our food waste. Foul, but necessary. And rubbish is only collect every fortnight.

    I guess if the tax for rubbish is the money you pay for the bags then maybe it's a good thing. Actually, what tax for rubbish? What does that mean? Sewage waste? In England you pay your water and sewage bills together.

    Anyway, I'm being enlightened so thanks!

  4. Oh in Italy everyone pays a tax for garbage (the dumpster in your neighborhood). Where I am from in the US garbage is a private service and you pay a monthly bill for the service based on how many cans you put in front of your driveway. If you can't afford it you're out of luck.
    We got a calendar from the commune that has all the garbage collection dates, info about the bags and even "do/don't" pictures for each bag/box. It's really helpful.

    Oh I LOVE the brocantes! There has been a bunch in Mons recently and I have found loads of star wars stuff! If you ever want to go Ben let us know! It's interesting..