It’s a fairly usual part of modern government to try to increase the rate at which people recycle used items. Sometimes it’s a very sensible practice indeed (we’ve been recycling gold for millennia precisely because it is so valuable) and sometimes it’s really rather silly (no trees are saved by paper recycling as we make paper from trees that we grow specifically to make paper). But more recycling is generally seen as a good thing. Which is what makes this latest piece of tomfoolery from the European Union so strange:
But the thousands who regularly sell their home-made jam, marmalade or chutney in re-used jars may have to abandon their traditions after a warning that they are breaching European health and safety regulations.
Legal advisers to Britain’s Churches have sent out a circular saying that while people can use jars for jam at home or to give to family and friends, they cannot sell them or even give them away as raffle prizes at a public event.No, it’s not a spoof. It really is true that those tasked with running an entire continent, the bureaucrats in Brussels, think that putting home made jam (jelly to you perhaps) in used jam jars should be and is a crime. With serious penalties too:
The agency said it was up to local authority environmental health officers to enforce the regulations, and penalties can reach a maximum of a £5,000 fine, six months’ imprisonment, or both.
The standard environmentalist mantra is not actually that we should recycle everything. It is, rather, that we should recycle those things that we do not reuse. Here we have a law stating that reuse is actually illegal. Which is really rather strange, for jam itself is a way of preserving something: and you must sterilise what you put it into as a part of the entire process anyway. But according to the Brains in Brussels it is better that such used jars be sent off, smashed up into pieces (known as cullet) and then recast into new jars. Rather than simply being washed out and used again. All very odd as this is an energy intensive process and it really is energy that we’re all being told to reduce our use of.
Still, I can’t say it’s too much of a surprise. The same people have also made it a criminal offence to put oil of citrus into jam or jelly. Or apple geranium leaves into any jam, jelly or marmalade except those made from quinces. No, really, it’s in the jams, jellies, marmalades and sweet chestnut puree regulations. Which also impose a fine of up to £5,000 and or 6 months in jail for such heinous crimes.
This is the same legislation that defines carrots as a fruit.
There really are times when it feels that the European Union is a continent that has been hijacked by the inmates of some asylum. The tricky question being how do we get it back from them?