Contamination levels have to reduce
I make no apologies for returning to the subject of recycling as my subject. Not only is it Recycle Week 2018 this week, with its theme of ‘Recycling. We do. Because it matters’, a Lincolnshire waste strategy, produced in partnership by the eight Lincolnshire councils, is soon to be published.
Councillors and officers of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership (LWP) have spent many months producing a document designed to meet the growing expectations of our taxpayers when it comes to the way we approach the task of waste collection and disposal.
The strategy will seek to minimise the waste we are creating and make the best use of the remaining waste, by turning it into a valuable resource. This could be by its use as a fuel to generate electricity, or better still, as a recycled material, avoiding the need to use the raw materials that are becoming harder and costlier to find. The ultimate goal of the partnership, as well as benefitting our environment, is to return that resource to the taxpayers of Lincolnshire, via their council services.
However, to gain the best return from the recycled materials we all collect, we need to ensure that our contamination rates are reduced from their current levels. A county-wide campaign is now underway, with the use of stickers and postcards, like the one pictured. In South Holland, our green recycling bags will be updated to display this information, so that every household is getting the same simple message.
The first two images are particularly damaging to a recycling load, as they often contain liquid that travels far and wide once inside a refuse truck. The leftovers of a takeaway chicken tikka masala meal for four can easily turn an eight-ton load of recycling, into an eight-ton load of waste, fit only for burning.
Batteries are an absolute no-no in any bag, green or black, because of the fire risk. The recent fire at a Lincolnshire materials recycling facility is thought to have been caused by a battery in a household recycling load.
We know there is more work to be done on helping the public to recycle, especially when it comes to the confusion over types of plastics. To address this, the partnership is looking at how my might simplifying what we collect, without impacting our levels of overall recycling.