At a time when services are being cut across the board, who in their right mind thinks it is a good idea to spend £250 million to enable a return to weekly bin collections. Money which could have been spent on supporting the most needy members of society, such as those with mental health problems or the elderly - see the Norwich Evening News story on Age UK's concerns about funding - will instead be used to allow people to avoid the arduous task of separating out their glass, plastic and paper for recycling. The government's own figures suggest that this will lead to a reduction in recycling, with 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable materials being sent to landfill instead.
Consume less and growth will fall, making governments look bad - but will we actually feel worse. Most research seems to indicate that ever higher levels of consumption have done little to make us happier, if anything the reverse has been true. So maybe it's time for us to get off that treadmill.
Maybe it's time we all started buying more second hand things, re-using others' cast offs rather than throwing them away and making new ones instead. In that vein it's nice to see that here in Norwich there has been a surge in the number of vintage clothing shops around the city in the last year or two. Maybe it's also time we rediscovered a degree of community spirit and borrowed more from our friends and neighbours. Nowadays most people have tools and other things which they use very infrequently, it would save us all money, and the carbon emissions associated with producing the goods, if we bought fewer things and shared more with others whenever they needed something.
Excessive consumption, and the waste it generates, is behind controversial local issues such as the proposed incinerator at Kings Lynn. Instead of planning to burn millions of tonnes of waste we should be seeking to avoid creating that waste in the first place. Build the incinerator and the incentive to reduce waste is removed - the council will be locked into providing a stream of waste to the operators and will have a vested interest in ensuring that waste stream isn't reduced.
You may have thought the missing word in the title of this piece was masses, possible, but I was more thinking of morons.