‘Outside the wheelie bin thinking’ needed to tackle ‘Green Gestapo’


A leading creativity expert is offering his services free to the waste industry to help encourage what he calls ‘outside the wheelie bin thinking’.

The move comes after concern that heavy-handed, clumsy enforcement of regulations on domestic waste disposal – on what people can and cannot throw away in their waste - could be counter-productive by encouraging a resentful backlash against what is already being labelled the ‘Green Gestapo’ or ‘Green Taliban’.


Creativity expert Andy Green is offering to run free talks or training sessions for any local authority or environmental organization to help them devise creative solutions to problems, rather than resort to brute legal force to bring about changes in behaviours fundamental for our society to address its pressing environmental challenges.


The offer was prompted by a recent case of a Whitehaven man fined over £110, plus £110 costs, plus £125 prosecution costs and now has a criminal record for having his over-filled his waste bin.


Andy Green believes a more creative approach of what he calls ‘outside the wheelie bin thinking’ - using flexible thinking looking at both the bigger picture and the minutiae to overcome lazy, or short-term thinking - could provide better solutions.


Simple ideas like leaving excess rubbish in the bin, so householders will eventually self-manage the problem, is one alternative which solves the problem by harnessing sustainability and uses an ecological approach to the question.


A policy of punishing people who are already supporting and maintaining the community’s core values should instead be re-focussed on targeting those wilfully ‘outside the system’ – such as fly-tippers, and non-recyclers.


Everything has a cost, so while penalties and fines may introduce a fear factor to encourage people conform it comes at a price of undermining what is called ‘reciprocal altruism’ – where we identify our own self interest is actually advanced by helping the wider community interest


The cost of legal action can alienate the very community whose support is vital, and itself could also be an inappropriate use of resource, while also creating significant negative public relations for the enforcing organization.


Anyone interested should contact andy@greencomms.com


Commenting on his approach Andy Green said: “Protecting our planet is rightly our society’s number one issue where we all need to change our way of living. An inconvenient truth however awaits waste managers who think they will achieve change by just using behind rules and regulations.”


Andy Green believes managers in waste management are guilty of asking the wrong question of: ‘How can we penalise people who put too much in their bins?’ He feels they would be better served by asking: “How do we make people want to not overfill their bin?”


Andy Green is a world-leading expert on the subject of flexible thinking, creativity and opportunity spotting. He is author of ‘Creativity in Public Relations’ - the world’s first book on the subject, ‘Effective Personal Communications Skills’, and ‘A minute with Tony Blair’ after a chance encounter with the former Prime Minister.


He is a partner with flexible thinking skills consultancy creativity@work, and also at leading brand and public relations consultancy GREEN communications. He is also the driving force behind the Wakefield Media Centre which is Britain’s only moo-ing building.


Andy works with blue-chip organisations around the world to facilitate creativity and brainstorm sessions, and deliver training to enable his clients to achieve more with less.