This month our coastal columnist MARTIN DOREY is thinking about the humble beach bin and the effect disposable BBQs can have on them.
This month I bring you an appeal from coastal bins everywhere. When the hot weather comes, bins at beauty spots and beaches will face an existential threat that can reduce them – just when they are needed most – to a smouldering, molten nothing. For bins in tinder-dry places their untimely demise could also lead to the demise of flora and fauna too.
And all because some Herbert couldn’t be bothered to light a proper barbecue, so instead bought a disposable one, cooked a very poor dinner on it and then lobbed it in the nearest waste disposal receptacle. Thereafter the barbecues, although appearing to be extinguished, smouldered away, set light to everything in the bin and created another evening beach blaze.
Alas, it happens every year. So, on behalf of bins everywhere I would like to say, “Please ditch the disposables.” Thank you.
Disposable barbecues are one of my favourite pet hates. Along with the leaf blower, they represent, to me, the ultimate in human stupidity and wastefulness. Please give them a massive swerve this summer.
Why? Aside from the bin fires, disposable barbecues are dangerous. They create a huge amount of carbon monoxide, emitting the silent killer even when they are no longer hot enough to cook on, killing people who have the misfortune to bring them into tents or camper vans.
While not quietly murdering campers, disposable barbecues also cause other harm. If they get buried in the sand after they have been used (it does happen), they can stay hot enough to burn the feet of someone walking on top. When they have been moved after use, the sand underneath can stay hot enough to cause third degree burns to a naked foot. Ouch!
It might seem incredible but some people don’t realise that disposable barbecues are hot! Anything that is hot enough to cause a bin fire is also hot enough to scorch grass, burn picnic benches and set light to habitats. In 2022, the year of the scorched earth, disposable barbecues (or the people misusing them) were said to be responsible for the burning of hundreds of acres.
Even once cool, the darned things are still a menace, with sharp edges that have been known to lacerate innocent feet.
And there’s another thing. Disposable barbecues are made (often in China) with charcoal, steel and aluminium, all of which has to be grown (responsibly? I doubt it) or mined, then machined, packaged in plastic and delivered thousands of miles to your local supermarket. The waste is incredible.
At a time when we should be conserving every scrap of resource, the last thing we should be doing is setting light to it and chucking it in a bin, where most likely it will cause a bin fire that will need to be put out by the emergency services. And all because it’s too much hassle to have a proper barbecue.
Honestly, it beggars belief.
Anyhow, I love a barbecue as much as the next man. But if you must, please burn your chipolata on something you can use more than once. And learn to use it responsibly. Otherwise I fear the wastefulness and stupidity might rub off. Nobody wants that.
For more columns by Martin Dorey, check out how he talks beach safety.