We've all been told how we need to reduce, reuse, and recyle, in order to keep things out of the landfills, and help save the earth, right?
From the "Must have missed the memo" files, the Southend (England) city council is fining Mark Howard and his bicycle shop for not producing any waste.
According to the London Daily Mail, Howard takes his commitment to the environment seriously. He reuses old materials like cardboard and pedals or sells old aluminum and steel bike frames as scrap, so he doesn't have any trash. But the council doesn't believe him because they're too busy with an up-close inspection of their own large intestine.
If Howard doesn't pay his fine within 10 days, it will rise to £300, and then he could be taken to court.
Last month, Howard received a letter from the council asking how he disposed of his waste. That's because the garbage collectors noticed they hadn't been picking up any waste. That caused a stir, because they're paid £80 to collect the trash, and they weren't collecting any, which meant they weren't going to get the £1.6 per week.
So Howard called the council, and said he didn't have any trash. The council basically said they thought he was lying, and would send out an inspector to check it out. The inspector showed up, didn't look around, and handed him a letter with the fine.
Howard says he actually has the paperwork to back up all of his claims, but nobody will listen to him.
"Despite repeated calls I was fobbed off all the time," Howard told the Daily Mail. "I have tried to get an interview with the director of the department but nothing has happened. This is totally stupid. The council must have money to burn because they want this case to go to court.
But stunningly, the Southend Council had the temerity to defend their actions. Simon Crowther, group manager for waste, told the Daily Mail, "Mr Howard is required under the Environmental (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 to produce evidence as to how he legally and lawfully disposes of commercial waste under his control"
Sounds like no one from your office actually looked, Simon. All you've done is presume him guilty, and forced him to prove himself innocent. A lack of garbage doesn't mean he's doing anything sinister with it, like storing it in little jars in a closet. Pull your head out of your Crowther and go see for yourself what he's doing with it.
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