Making a difference to our local community

RECYCLING NEWS -

Boots Opticians are listed as a drop off location for the Terracycle contact lens recycling programme.  This allows you to drop off the contact lenses, blister packs and foil covers


 

What you must recycle from home


Paper and cardboard: All paper, cardboard, catalogues, directories and Yellow Pages. (We do not recycle shredded paper)

Food and drink cartons: All food and drink cartons, including Tetra Pak (please rinse and flatten all boxes).

Glass bottles and jars: All glass bottles and jars (please rinse). No broken glass please.

Cans and tins: All drink cans and food tins (please rinse and empty)

Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays: Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays including margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and any other types of plastic food containers (please rinse and remove film). 


 

What cannot be recycled from home


Listed are the waste item and why can't we recycle it?

Shredded paper: Becomes tangled in the sorting machinery at the materials recovery facility. Please only shred personal information. Shredded paper can be used as pet bedding or placed into compost bins. Otherwise place it into your refuse bin from where it will be used to generate electricity.

Plastic bags: These can cause problems at the materials recovery facility (MRF), as they become tangled in the sorting machinery.

Plastic film: Film is often contaminated with dirt and grease and can clog up the machinery at the materials recovery facility.

Small plastic lids: Due to their size, they fall through the sorting machinery and may contaminate other materials.

Foil, bottle tops or yoghurt pot lids: Bottle tops and foil cause problems by falling through the machinery during the sorting process at the materials recovery facility. This can result in the contamination of other materials.

Food-soiled boxes: Greasy paper cannot be successfully recycled.

Polystyrene: As it passes through the sorting machinery it smashes into thousands of separate beads and causes a litter problem as well as clogging up equipment.

Pyrex or window glass: At present all glass is recycled as aggregate, but our aim is to recycle it back into new bottles and jars as this is more carbon friendly. Pyrex and window glass are not suitable for this purpose as they only melt at much higher temperatures.

Light bulbs: Energy efficient light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which will build up at the materials recovery facility as they smash. You can recycle them safely at Reuse and Recycling Centres.

Electrical items: The plant is not designed to handle electrical items and they can damage machinery. When cables get caught in the equipment they can cause an emergency shutdown.

Chemical containers or batteries: These are classed as hazardous waste and can pose a risk to human health and the environment. They need to be disposed of separately see.

Paint: Spilt paint will contaminate paper waste. 

Soil or rubble: Cannot be separated from other recyclables at the materials recovery facility and so it contaminates the other materials. Rubble can cause expensive damage to the machinery.

Textiles: Clothing and textiles end up getting covered in food residues from packaging which makes them unusable. 

Aerosols: Due to a number of explosions in the Material Recycling Facility (MRF), aerosols are no longer accepted for recycling. 


This information is taken from Lambeth.gov.uk.  Click to go directly to this website where more detailed information is available.

Find out more
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                                    It's important to know what you can and can't recycle.

REPORT - NATHALIE LEES

Report Following a visit to WRWA JANUARY 2019

Following my visit to the facilities in Wandsworth, I emailed Jon Long, Education officer at WRWA to ask further questions.
Before you read further, it is important to remember that recycling and incineration (or landfill in other boroughs than Lambeth) must be the very last options after
- Refusing
- Reducing
- Re-using
- Repairing
- Re-homing


Still, even if we try very hard, it is almost impossible to be zero waste and we have to handle our waste as responsibly as we can and, to do so, being informed is key!

Question 1
What type of plastic can be recycled using the list I have attached (plastics are categorised by numbers)?

Question 2

Would you have some info/ figures regarding where all recycling goes depending on type of material, how much is recycling within the UK, Europe and further afield.

Response is as follows:

On Wed, 23 Jan 2019 at 13:49, Jon Long <jon@wrwa.gov.uk> wrote:

Hi Nathalie,

Thanks for your email. Plastic is tricky because it is not as simple as: the following numbers can be recycled and the following numbers can’t. For example, we get lots of PET (1) and HDPE (2) but there are some PET products that can’t be recycled, the same with HDPE (black HDPE bin bags are not recyclable here, HDPE Milk bottles are) and this is the case for most of the numbers. So we don’t sort via these numbers as it complicates things. We accept plastic tubs, trays, and bottles. We don’t want flexible plastic (like cling film or crisp/sweet packets) or very rigid plastic (such as toys might be made from) and we don’t want things that are too small for our machines like loose lids or straws etc.

The other problem with recycling plastic is that it is the worst material to recycle. Unlike glass or metal that maintains its strength in the process, plastic degrades, and much quicker than say paper (which can be recycled around 7/8 times). Plastic weakens with each recycling process and will probably be recycled once, twice at most. So sadly recycling plastic is not a sustainable solution, and why we need to greatly reduce it first and foremost. So it’s very heartening to know there are Plastic Free groups such as yours emerging all the time.

The figures I mentioned are: around £145 to dispose of a tonne of general waste (to a EfW plant) and £27 per tonne of recycling.

Regarding where the recycling is sent, They sell to variety of places (all within the EU) and whilst they will not release a breakdown of exactly where each bale has gone to the public (this is commercially sensitive information and they are a business) they are legally required to give such a breakdown to the local authority (whose job it is to closely monitor all their actions). Because Cory are hired as contractors on behalf of local government, they are held to an extremely high standard.

Before sending any recyclable material to a third party, in addition to the extensive “Duty of Care” checks it is legally required to carry out, Cory also carries out its own due diligence process to ensure that all materials will be subsequently managed legally and in an environmentally responsible manner.

There is, however, a breakdown of what happens to each material, including where it is sent: (This was released as part of our last general managers report which can be found on our website):

Mixed Paper (white and brown paper, cereal packages, envelopes, and other smaller items of paper)

Cory sends material to four paper mills based in the UK, Holland and Belgium.

• Bales of mixed paper are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to one of the facilities by road.

• Bales are off-loaded and visually inspected for high levels of contaminants. The bales will be re-sorted again into separate grades of paper (i.e. white, brown, card, etc.) and be processed at the mill or sold to other local European mills.

• The separate grades of materials are shredded, cleaned and pulped with a whisk-like machine that pulls any remaining contaminants out.

• The pulp is then dried and rolled to make sheets which is then used to make new packaging and various paper products like printing paper, tissue paper, cereal packets, packaging and card.

• Any contaminants will either be recycled (in the case of metals and baling wire) and the remainder sent to Energy from Waste

Cardboard (Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC))

OCC is sent to facilities in Belgium. Because the fibre lengths in cardboard are longer, the material is stronger and can be recycled more times than paper or

newspaper:

• Bales of cardboard are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility.

• Bales are off-loaded and visually inspected for high levels of contaminants.

• Material is shredded, cleaned and pulped, with a whisk-like machine pulling any remaining contaminants out.

• The pulp is then dried and rolled to make sheets which are then used to make new cardboard packaging.

News & Pams (Newspapers, Periodicals and Magazines)

Separated News & Pams go to mills in Belgium and Norway. The process is very similar to that of the mixed paper/OCC described above:

• Bales of News & Pams are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility.

• Bales are off-loaded and visually inspected for high levels of contaminants.

• The material is shredded, cleaned, pulped and de-inked, with a whisk-like machine pulling any remaining contaminants out.

• The pulp is then dried and rolled to make sheets which are then used to make new newspapers.

Recycling Sacks and Film Packaging

Film is a low-quality plastic grade and is not accepted as a recyclable material at the MRF, with the exception of the clear recycling sacks that the mixed recycling is collected in. Over the last three years, due to the lack of reprocessing plants available to recycle this material, it has not always been possible to send this material to be recycled and, when that is the case, the film is sent to Energy from Waste to be converted to electricity.

Steel Cans

Steel cans are processed in the UK.

• Bales of steel are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility.

• Bales are off-loaded at a bulking yard, where the bales are broken down and any contaminants removed.

• Material is then taken to a UK-based furnace where it is smelted into sheets that are used to make new cans, car or plane parts or anything else that is manufactured from steel.

Aluminium Cans

Aluminium cans are taken directly to a German aluminium recycling plant.

• Bales of aluminium cans are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility in Germany.

• Bales are off-loaded and inspected for contaminants.

• The bales are loaded into a furnace and smelted into sheets

• The sheets are then made into new cans, car parts or anything else that is made from aluminium.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) Natural (Milk bottles)

HDPE natural plastics are processed locally in the south east of England.

• Bales are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility.

• The material is shredded and put on conveyor belts and any contaminants removed before being but through a sink tank (to separate out any unwanted plastic types, e.g. bottle tops). These plastics are then sold locally in the UK and Europe to be made into new products.

• Bottle tops are separated from the natural HDPE at the reprocessing centre in the sink tank and are sent to a secondary facility to be recycled.

• The HDPE flakes are washed, dried, melted and pelletised before being mixed with some virgin material and made back into milk bottles.

HDPE Coloured (Detergent, cleaning and shampoo bottles)

HDPE coloured plastics are processed in the UK to make a range of products such as new bottles, bag for life shopping bags and furniture.

• Bales are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to the facility.

• Material is shredded and put on conveyors and any contaminants removed before being but through a sink tank (to separate out any unwanted plastic types, e.g. bottle tops). These plastics are then sold locally in the UK and Europe to be recycled.

• The HDPE flakes are washed, dried, melted and pelletised before being mixed with virgin material and made into various products, including piping, detergent bottles and bag for life shopping bags.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)’Clear’– Drink and water bottles, sandwich trays, fruit punnets

PET ‘clear’ natural is currently sent to a plastic reprocessing plant in Germany and is processed in the same way as HDPE.

The PET natural is processed into food grade plastics (drinks bottles, sandwich trays and salad trays, etc).

PET Coloured

PET coloured is also currently sent to the same plant as PET ‘clear’ in Germany and is processed in the same way.

The PET coloured is processed into food grade plastics (drinks bottles, ready meal trays, etc.), and potentially clothing (such as fleece jackets). The sustainability of

making clothes from plastics is under review due to the risk of micro plastics entering the water ecosystems during the washing process of the clothes.

Mixed Plastics (Pots, Tubs and Trays)

• Bales are put into an articulated lorry at the MRF in Smugglers Way and taken to a facility (often in Germany but this varies, always within the EU).

• The mixed plastics are shredded and placed into a sink tank to separate the plastics into the different grades (i.e. PP, PS, PET, HDPE LDPE).

• These flakes are then washed and dried before being bagged up and sent to the processing facility.

• At the processing facility, the flakes are pelletised, mixed with virgin material (dependent on specification requirement or what is being made) and moulded into new products, such as wheeled bins and storage containers.

• Dependent on the market, pellets can also be sold to other plastic manufacturers around Europe.

• Any contaminants are sent to Energy from Waste Facilities in the UK.

Glass

Glass is processed in the UK.

• As glass cannot be baled it is collected loose in bulker trucks at the Smugglers Way MRF and taken to the sorting facility.

• At the facility contaminants (non-glass materials, such as metals, paper labels and plastics) are removed. Metals are sent on to further facilities to be recycled, whilst other materials are send to landfill.

• Metal bottle caps are filtered out at the front end of the MRF process with the glass due to their small size. These caps are a contaminant and therefore are removed by magnets, etc., and sent for recycling where markets can be found. However, as they are a composite item (i.e. they have a plastic disk stuck to the inside of them), they can be difficult to separate and recycle.

• Glass is then sorted into the different colours (using light refraction) and then graded by size using numerous vibrating plates that act like a sieve.

• The sorted contaminant-free cullet is then send to glass smelting plants in the UK and Europe to be recycled into new bottles, windows, other glass products or used as an aggregate material.

I hope this helps. I understand the need for the public to know their recycling is being processed properly, but I do feel that the pressure should be focused more on the manufacturers producing and consumers buying all of this packaging, not just the people who then have to deal with waste we have produced.

The fact is that even if we recycled every single recyclable item we came into contact with, it would not alleviate our environmental issues as there are still far, far too much single use packaging being produced, not even taking into account the masses of carbon emissions from shipping and transportation of all of these materials around the world. We need to focus much more on reducing and reusing first, and on choosing locally sourced products and food where possible to cut down on the masses of carbon emissions that come from transporting these items.

Best wishes,

Jon

Jon Long

Education Officer

Western Riverside Waste Authority

Smugglers Way

Wandsworth

LONDON SW18 1JS

Direct Line: 020 8875 8885

E-mail: jon@wrwa.gov.uk

Description: Social-media-logos-twit@WRWArecycling


NATHALIE LEES

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