Yer man Zero has been beavering away at work recently. Not so much at the job I’m paid to do, more at helping the office become a more environmentally responsible place. It’s been a long, subtle campaign operating largely behind the scenes, like Ghandi’s epic struggle for Indian Independence or Nick Cotton’s plan to slowly poison his old ma.

This week saw the removal of rubbish bins in the office following what must be two years of talking about it. Where I work, we consider this dynamic. The first step came about 18 months ago when I ignored the instinct to cringe and took a place on the office working group that was concerned with creating a more pleasant place of work. After the success of the shelves that were too high to be useful, the plants that were banned after the fruit flies and fumigators, and the TV too small to be watched and too loud to be listened to, the eco-warriors had their day with the introduction of recycle bins for paper. It was a proud day indeed when yer man Zero went to a Swedish store to buy the recycle bins and watched as colleagues reacted with indifferent obedience.

Today, older and wiser, no longer on the working group because of its basic crapness but constantly in the ear of the admin manager, I looked on as individual rubbish bins were confiscated and more recycle bins put in their place. They now collect paper, cans, plastic and cardboard, and if people want to be wasteful and bin recyclable materials they have to walk to the breakout area bin and stand in front of witnesses and next to recycle bins to do it. Peer pressure just won’t allow that to happen. Victory is mine! All mine, because the other people involved don’t have blogs!

The next steps in the campaign are to get a composter for our food waste, to ditch the plastic cups from the water cooler and replace them with reusable mugs, to ditch the water cooler if something can be done about the rank taste of the tap water, to stop the admin team printing emails every time someone books a meeting room, to get people to turn the lights off when they leave rooms, and to get the staff wearing felt and singing kumbaya. Deadline: 12 May 2048.

And PETA, take note.  I did this quietly and respectably, with subtlety and intelligence and sophisticated political manipulations.
Although taking to the roof with my chap out seemed to be the clincher.

Photo credit: Benjamin Hayden at Wikimedia Commons