Friday, August 26, 2005

No waste like... a TV waste #2

I caught the last half of the second episode of the re-programme last night, and it's telling that it is not shaping up as a must-see, or even record, at least on a personal basis.

But professionally I'm kicking myself. It's the nearest thing we have to a complimentitor (in case I haven't explained this term before, we don't see ourselves in competition with anyone if the idea is to encourage good environmental practice. However, as commercial pressures revolve around audience share, then by definition we are seeking valuable attention from the same crowd, so there is a sense of competition at least. Other than that, we're doing our thing in a very different way). They are making waste at least mainstream and 'fun'.

I put ‘fun’ in quotes because what I did see again made me feel that it was at the expense of some less than credible guinea persons being set a variety of Big Brother-esqe tasks, with a lurking camcorder, video editor and snide voice-over to chart their hapless efforts. Do you empathise with such folk? Do you respond to nanny knows best? At we're aiming for 'a mate with advice'.

And again it didn't ring true, at least to me, on a practical basis. They were given a Toyota Prius, but I think I heard (one day we'll be sent review copies of such programmes) that they were told to use it only for long trips. Recalling Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear (salts for our now recumbent lovely PR lady!) isn't that when the electric component doesn't do its thing and in fact a small diesel is way better? And I really must find out what exactly comes out of its pipe - combined with the power station pipe - in comparison with the single pipe on most cars. Do they count the carbon emissions of electric generation at source?

Speaking of diesels, it was awfully quaint popping in Dad’s now converted van to the chippy to top up with sunflower and a saveloy, but I don't quite see Ross High Street coping with the town waiting in line to fill the tank using a funnel with a litre bottle.

And again we end with the savings. 'You now have £90 something quid, extra'. Um. Do they get to keep the £17k Prius? Who paid for the biodiesel conversion on the van? Yes, the savings would eventually add up on that but not, I suspect, before the car in question had bought that great end of life certificate in the sky. That’s the calculation I’m looking at for an LPG conversion on my R-reg Volvo. Does Gordo slap more tax on next budget?

It's good to see various worthwhile issues raised, but on behalf of real consumers I'd like them to be more constructively critical and pragmatic.

Speaking of which, we have heard back on the 'all waste' composter, though of course not from the guys who make it (who we had approached with an offer of free coverage). Galls me to say it, but I think we're going to have to get one from them, unless there are other guys out there. By all accounts it is intended to deal with dead bodies, but it takes a heck of a lot longer than the time period inferred in the programme, and that's before winter turns it into a cold storage for slowly... very... slowly… decaying animal matter. Nice.

Next week it's all about nappies. We know a lot about this through our involvement with Green Nappies

(with BIG news on this soon!) and it will be interesting to see what the balance of facts to fantasy will be.