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lot of the material being recycled. Tetra Pak’s, or card drinks cartons,


used for juice and milk, were recently added to the list of items that can be put in the blue sacks. These are picked off the conveyor belt by hand and sent to West Yorkshire – UK’s sole Tetra Pak recycling plant, which pulps the carton, separates the aluminium from the carbon, and recycles the raw materials. Contamination The handlers at Exeter try to separate cardboard from paper, but most is sold on mixed with paper. It’s pulped down and sold on to create lower grade paper products, such as toilet roll tubes. Natalie Johnson, senior waste specialist at South Hams District Council, said: “Unfortunately, there is a high contamination rate in the blue sacks, mainly from food and drink. We are unable to recycle a lot of paper and cardboard in the first stage of sorting because of this. “We’ve also had to stop wrapping paper being recycled in the blue bags, after we had a message from the paper mills that it was causing problems. “There’s no process at the


moment to split wrapping paper that contains plastic to that without, or glittered paper. It’s also often contaminated with plastic cellotape. “The quality of paper is so


“We’ve also had to stop wrapping


paper being recycled in the blue bags, after we had a message from the paper mills that it was causing problems.”


important for the end price and useability. If the quality is not good enough we’re just shifting about useless stuff really. We always stress we don’t want recycled paper sold abroad, and try to keep it in the UK as much as possible. “China has massively improved


in recent years but now there are areas of Indonesia that are taking recycling materials where they don’t have the infrastructure for sorting and recycling. We need to make sure our recycled paper doesn’t end up there.” Brown bins Compostable materials, such as food and gardening waste, are collected in the brown wheelie bins in a separate vehicle. This material is also taken first


to Torr Quarry to be weighed and dispatched. It’s then taken to an In-Vessel


Recycling Fact File


Household waste collected in the South Hams in 2017/18: Total amount = 33,228 Tonnes Average 662 kgs per household Clear sacks (plastic bottles, cans and foil) = 900 tonnes Blue sacks (paper, card etc) = 4,185 tonnes Organic recycling (brown bin) = 9,935 tonnes Glass collected from bottle banks = 2,174 tonnes


Contamination: • Contamination rates in blue and clear bags and brown bin vary from eight per cent to 20 per cent • 30 per cent of grey bin contents is organic waste that could go in the brown bin, and approx 9 per cent of it could have been recycled in the blue and clear sacks. • The most common contaminates in the sacks and brown bins are - crisp packets and sweet wrappers; black plastic and film lids; food waste; pizza boxes; and ‘dirty’ recycling - recycling containing food waste or liquids.


Composting Facility where the waste is composted at high temperatures and the end product is sold on commercially


as compost. South Hams District Council operates as a collection


authority and Devon County Coun- cil as a disposal authority. Devon County Council is therefore respon- sible for all residual (non-recyclable grey bin) and organic waste. Grey bins Non-recyclable rubbish collected in grey bins goes to Plymouth Energy Recovery Facility. There it is burnt and the heat and


electric energy created is used to power local businesses, including Devonport Naval Base. Nothing from domestic collections goes to landfill.


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