An initiative announced by Kingston Borough council today promises to relieve thousands of hard-working recession-hit families from the shame of putting out budget-brand alcohol containers in their recycling bins this Christmas, while also giving slumping property prices a much-needed boost.
The scheme allows cash-strapped families to receive pre-loaded recycling tubs filled with premium-label empties such as Tanqueray No. Ten gin, Glenlivet 21-year-old single malt whisky and a selection of classic English ales to put in front of their houses for collection the following day, concealing the reality that they will be attempting to sustain their drunken haze over the holidays with Sainsbury’s ‘basics’ range vodka and cooking sherry.
This follows a broadly successful pilot scheme run last year, although the council's initial offer to lend residents cardboard boxes from high-end electronics goods to leave in their front drives was withdrawn after a spate of burglaries that resulted in the council facing legal action from both the victims and the burglars, who claimed false advertising.
Feedback is generally positive, with one user commenting anonymously, ‘People expect to see something decent in your [recycling] tub, especially over Christmas and the New Year – a bottle or two of Veuve Cliquot, some Bombay Sapphire. Word gets round pretty quickly if you’ve just put out a few empty PET bottles of White Lightning.’
However, it’s not just residents’ blushes the scheme is saving – supporters believe that a better class of empties can increase a house's 'kerb appeal', thus boosting property prices, and if this year’s roll-out is successful, the council plans to extend the programme to replacing all the empty Carlsberg Special Brew cans in neighbourhood parks and shrubs with high-end Belgian beer bottles, such as Chimay Blanche-Tripel and Duvel.
‘It’s a win-win situation,’ claimed council spokesman, Simon Craig. ‘We gentrify neighbourhoods, residents can keep up appearances and we get to put these glass containers to good use rather than just mixing them with the other rubbish and chucking them in the land-fill like we usually do.