EDITOR'S LETTERMerryn Somerset Webb
The EU and my Aga dream
I’ve always wanted an Aga. And for sentimental reasons I have always wanted that Aga to be red. However, as I have also always lived in cities with kitchens a tad too small to justify devoting wall space to an oven without an effective hob, I’ve never had one.
Last year, Aga read my mind and introduced the utterly gorgeous Aga City60. It’s half the size of a normal Aga and, if I do the rest of my kitchen remodelling at Ikea, I can run to one. Hooray. Now the bad news: it comes in many colours, but not red. Why not? Because the EU directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) says that all cast-iron appliances that use electricity (but not gas) must be 100% recyclable. The red paint Aga uses has a tiny bit of cadmium in it. That can’t be fully recycled – which means you can’t have an electric Aga in red.
You may say that this is entirely reasonable. It probably is. But it made me wonder what I might do about it if I thought that it wasn’t. In the UK, if something happens we don’t much like, we can call on our MPs and know that they have some power; we can complain to the relevant department and know there is a chance they will read our letters; or we can go public and petition for change (MoneyWeek has one up now, demanding a guarantee that cash will never be banned). And we can vote against governments who irritate us too much.
But with the EU, I haven’t even the tiniest bit of faith in getting my voice heard.
• Read the full editor’s letter here: The EU and my Aga dream