Five members of Conservative-run Backworth District Council were forced to resign today when a leaked memo revealed that 12,000 tons of meaningless newspapers were printed and distributed in the last six months simply to help meet government recycling targets.
Minutes of a secret council meeting revealed that take-up of the district recycling scheme had been relatively poor due to the need to sort 17 different types of materials into separate colour-coded bins. Newspaper recycling, however, was well established and it was proposed that the Council simply print its own local paper in order to increase the weight of material being pulped.
‘Nobody reads past the first few lines of this sort of thing,’ commented one anonymous ex-councillor, ‘so we had one of the members write a particularly dull front-page item about the workings of local government, called the paper ‘Window on Your Council’ and filled the remaining 45 pages with the achievements of made up council departments in parts of the borough that didn’t actually exist. It worked a charm, and with a great banner saying ‘Please recycle me’ in green across the top, we estimated that 98% of them went straight from the doormat into the recycling box.’
The same paper was then successfully distributed every four weeks for nearly seven months, until a pair of seven-year old girls, looking for something to line a gerbil’s cage with, found the paper and asked one of their mothers to take them to the new council swimming pool in ‘Narnia Ward’. Realising immediately that something was amiss, the mother then contacted a real local paper and the scam was uncovered. ‘And we would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids – and their gerbil’ said a council insider.
A huge national outcry was expected to follow, but it transpires that once readers have pulled out the small ads page for ‘Personal Services’ the local paper goes straight in the recycling bin as well.