IT was just about a year ago when residents of the Wycombe District had their collective minds blown by the arrival of a battalion of new bins on our doorsteps.

Blue, black, green, big caddies, small caddies, caddy liners, battery bags – some people must have considered upsizing their homes just so they could fit them all down the sideway.

Others may still be wondering quite what they are all for.

There was, it is fair to say, some resistance to the notion of separating out waste into different bins like that – and some pretty major teething problems with collections in certain areas (which still crop up for some residents here and there).

Personally it never much bothered our household. Living on a hill as we do, the winds always used to blitz many of the old box-style recycling containers (the designers clearly never meant for their creations to be used in the gale-battered badlands of High Wycombe).

After a windy collection day, coming home used to seem a bit like how riding through the old west must have felt – only instead of tumbleweed rolling across the prairie it was more like half- crushed milk cartons and unwanted pizza leaflets flapping soggily across the rubbish- strewn pavements.

As such we would never bother to put ours out, stopping off at the recycling bins en route to our regular weekly shop instead.

So, a more cramped sideway notwithstanding, the recycling collections have actually been helpful to us.

It is good news, then, to hear that these bins do seem to be having a wider effect than making our weekly supermarket trip a smoother excursion.

It was announced this week that the current recycling rates in the county have shot up over the last year, from 47.6 to 54 per cent.

Well, perhaps a rise of 6.4ish per cent doesn’t quite sound like a figure that has ‘shot up’ but it’s pretty good when you take into account that the same people who used to recycle before are still doing so now – meaning that the message has got through to considerably more people across the county over the last 12 months.

The debate on global warming has raged long and hard – not least on these very letters pages. Whichever side of the fence you come down on – climate change denier or accepter – surely it is common sense not to be tearing through more materials than we actually need and dump them in landfill.

And even the most cynical out there must accept it cuts down on the cost of landfill tax.

Yet while – as this week’s figures confirm – consumers are increasingly coming round to recycling (even if a few of them have to be dragged kicking and screaming) there is still a problem at the other side of the equation For while we are all encouraged to reuse those plastic bags, and while most packaging is pretty recyclable now, not all is.

Not to mention that the vast and unnecessary swathes of plastic and card smothering too many products.

Why on earth, for example, does any supermarket think it’s a good idea to cellophane up cartons of four apples at a time?

It just seems an odd, pointless concession to the notion of being ‘upmarket’ that adds nothing to anyone’s retailing or consumer experience.

It is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, irresponsible to keep churning out such needless packaging.

We get charged for taking plastic carrier bags these days.

Perhaps we should start demanding money off our shopping for having all that pointless plastic, polystyrene and card foisted upon us – it seems a curious double standard that does nothing but take up space in their customers’ bins.

It’s a good job we have so many nowadays.