I’M staggered at just how much waste we produce. When I say we, I mean me and my wife but I would assume other households are in the same boat.

And it’s become very obvious over the course of the pandemic that the volume of our recyclable waste has dramatically increased, thanks in the main to the packaging waste generated by online shopping (and maybe one or two extra beer cans).

It’s true to say that by the time blue bin day comes around ours is pretty full and I have actually been known, from time to time, to climb into the recycling bin to use my not inconsiderable weight to crush the contents of an overflowing bin so I can fit more in.

While I wouldn’t go so far as calling it a disaster if the recycling isn’t collected, it is a major inconvenience.

So my thoughts go out to the poor residents of Old Liverpool Road and Pickmere Street in Sankey Bridges whose recycling was left uncollected because their bins were ‘contaminated’.

It appears the ‘contaminants’ were tissues which are expressly forbidden in blue bins, along with a whole list of other things ranging from coat hangers to crisp packets and dinner plates to cling film.

But here’s the problem, the householders weren’t the ones doing the contaminating. As everyone with a wheely bin knows, they have to be left out at the edge of your property, which makes them fair game for any passing miscreants to drop in whatever they want.

Yet it’s the householders who suffered the consequences.

Sadly, this looks like a classic Catch-22 situation.

You have to put your bin out for collection which makes it publicly accessible. If it’s contaminated by the public, it won’t be collected.

What’s the solution?

It appears there isn’t one. As a council spokesman said: “While we understand the frustration for residents that have their bins contaminated by others, unfortunately our staff will be unaware who has placed the contaminated waste in the bin and can only act on the clear guidance that contaminated waste cannot be sent for disposal.

“When bins are left due to contamination, a letter is sent to residents asking them to remove the incorrect items from the bin to enable it to be emptied on the next scheduled collection date.”

So there’s sympathy but no solution. I usually have an answer (right or wrong) for most things, but I don’t in this case I don’t. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

On a different topic, I notice my favourite parish council – Penketh – has got off to a somewhat soggy start under the stewardship of its new councillors.

Regular readers of this column will be aware that the formerly Labour-controlled council is now in the hands of independents, who took 10 of the 12 seats at the recent elections.

Keen to get on with the job and after a certain amount of confusion regarding dates, the new team decided to hold its annual meeting on the first Wednesday after the election.

Given that at the time, some social distancing regulations were still in force, you would be justified in asking where this meeting took place? Was it virtual and socially distanced over Zoom?

Oh no, keen to channel their new-found spirit of enterprise and determination, Penketh Parish Council’s annual meeting took place al fresco with councillors standing around in the parish hall’s car park, under umbrellas, in the rain.

Yes, really.

Talking of Labour failures, Faisal Rashid and Rebecca Knowles, who both failed to with a seat on the borough council at the recent election, should look away now.

They were part of a Warrington Labour WhatsAp group that criticised the increasing prevalence of the Tory Government to insist on an increasing use of the Union Flag for just about anything.

So this week, I received my new GHIC card which should give me free or low cost medical treatment if I fall ill while in a European Union country. It replaces the EU EHIC card.

The old EHIC card had a plain, two-tone blue background. But what does the new GHIC card have? You guessed it…a Union Flag.