by Emma Dawson
Planet plastic or plastic fantastic! The solution is in your hands… Emma Dawson explains how our recycling works and how we can all recycle better. It’s time for a New Years recycling resolution!
It’s easy to sometimes think that your recycling efforts don’t make much of a difference but if everyone in the UK recycled one aluminium deodorant aerosol enough energy would be saved to run a TV in over 151,000 homes for a year. A staggering 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season, enough to wrap Big Ben almost 260,000 times so every item you recycle really can have a huge impact.
Ever wondered what happens to your recycling once it leaves the confines of your home? We’re all being badgered to “recycle more” but what’s the point of it all? With the recent focus on plastic pollution and the mixed messages on recycling in the national press this article seeks to clear up confusion within our local community with a focus on Mid Sussex District.
A PARTNERSHIP APPROACH
Mid Sussex is one of seven District and Borough Councils within West Sussex responsible for the collection of household waste and recycling. The Councils work closely together under the umbrella of the West Sussex Waste Partnership. West Sussex County Council is the ‘Waste Disposal Authority’, responsible for the safe disposal of household waste collected by the District and Borough Councils. The County Council also provides Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) where residents can deliver their household waste for recycling and disposal. All District and Borough Councils in the partnership collect the same materials in the same manner, using the same key messages, bin stickers and icons in order to minimise confusion to our residents. The only difference you will see across the county is the colour of the bin/lid!
Alternate weekly household collections have been introduced in Mid Sussex with general waste collected one week and dry mixed recycling of plastics, glass, metal, foil, cartons, paper and card the other.
Alex Donley, Contract Manager says, “Our residents can help collection crews by simple actions such as not overfilling the bin so the lid closes and placing the bin in a safe and accessible kerbside location with handles facing the road.”
We have just introduced a new fleet of refuse and recycling collection vehicles which provide improved operational performance and fuel efficiency. Electric bin lifts lower noise pollution, rear wheel drive enables easier access and CCTV ensures greater visibility for the safety of the crew, pedestrians and other road users. Kerbside recycling is collected and then taken to one of several transfer stations within West Sussex where the material is bulked up onto larger vehicles for transportation to our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Arundel reducing the number of vehicles on the road. The mixed recycling is then mechanically sorted and separated into individual material types, baled up and transported to reprocessors for manufacturing into new products.
DID YOU KNOW BLACK PLASTIC CAN BE RECYCLED IN WEST SUSSEX?
Since April 2015 along with other Local Authorities in West Sussex, Mid Sussex has also collected plastic pots, tubs and trays for recycling. With access to specialised sorting facilities at our Materials Recycling Facility near Arundel we can now even collect and sort black plastic unlike the majority of Councils nationally.
CAN YOU REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE MORE?
The majority of residents in Mid Sussex are recycling more and we want to say a big thank you for all you do, however with your help we can still recycle more…
The West Sussex Waste Partnership have done some research and found that in West Sussex, just over 17% of what you put in your general waste bin could have been collected at the kerbside for recycling. That equates to 28,110 tonnes – what a waste! This figure is even higher in Mid Sussex (19.3%) as highlighted in the bin breakdown picture.
HOW YOU CAN HELP… #THINK BEFORE YOU THROW
If the wrong items are put in your recycling bin, they risk damaging the MRF and could ruin the quality of the whole lorry load of recycling. This is why it is vital to recycle right by only putting the correct items in your recycling bin at home.
Items such as plastic bags, hard plastics (e.g. toys, plant pots), textiles, polystyrene, shredded paper and paper towels or tissues cannot be recycled at the MRF. In Mid Sussex we are unable to empty blue lidded bins that contain these materials.
All recycling should be
- Clean (a quick rinse will do)
- Dry (Keep your bin lid shut)
- Loose (not in plastic bags)
Mid Sussex residents can find lots more useful information on our website www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste- recycling or alternatively for county wide information visit www.recycleforwestsussex.org
Let’s work together this year to make a difference to the environment and to our local community as recycling more benefits the environment, using less energy and natural resources.