Visit to NCC’s West Sleekburn Waste Recycling Plant
The Parish Council received an invitation to visit the West Sleekburn Waste Recycling plant which I attended on June 7th.
This plant handles the contents of our blue recycling bins. After doorstep collection the contents are taken to various transfer stations in the county where they are put into bulk containers and sent to West Sleekburn. Arriving there the waste is first hand sorted to remove unwanted items. The staff explained that all sorts of inappropriate items arrive in the recycling waste including nappy sacks, concrete blocks and even dead animals! There is a video of the processing plant at :-
This explains how the waste is sorted using high tech machinery which can identify different plastics and paper and also separates steel and aluminium cans. At the end of the process cardboard, 2 grades of paper, steel and aluminium cans and 2 types of plastic bottles are baled up to be sold. The remaining waste which can’t be recycled is sent to a waste to electricity plant on Teesside where it is incinerated along with waste from our rubbish bins. Very little of the waste ends up in landfill as metals are recovered from the incinerator residue and inert bottom ash is used in construction as a secondary aggregate. All in all quite impressive but we could all do more to improve our recycling (see guide below).
Some of the important points for your blue bin are :-
The ONLY plastics which should go in the blue bin are any plastic bottles (drinks, detergent and shampoo bottles)
Steel and aluminium cans (put ring pull lids inside and crush) including aerosols but empty and remove plastic head
CLEAN paper and cardboard (food contamination eg pizza boxes or oils can contaminate the whole bin)
Don’t tie up papers/magazines – leave loose
Don’t put metal tins inside cardboard boxes or vice versa
GLASS PLASTIC BAGS BUBBLE WRAP FOOD TRAYS USED PIZZA BOXES YOGHURT / MARGARINE POTS JUICE CARTONS SHREDDED PAPER or PAPER TOWELS
Glass should be taken to the bins in the main car park and take care not to put brown or green glass in the clear glass bin. Clear glass is a more valuable commodity than mixed coloured glass and keeping it separate reduces costs.