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Suffolk is soon to be set apart from many other counties in the UK, as waste bosses hope to make recyclying process easier by allowing residents to chuck their glass in the standard blue bin. Other counties use different kerb-side bins for different materials, and some councils even have as many eight or nine different bins to use for different recyclables, but the Suffolk Waste Partnership hopes that less waste will find its way to landfill as a result of this new endeavour.
Peter Stevens is the chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, a strategic partnership of the county, district and borough councils that work to improve waste management services. According to Stevens, more glass would be recycled if it did not need to be transported to bottle banks. ‘Well the message is we want to keep the collection of recycling as simple as possible to our residents so that we can achieve the maximum quality of recyclate, so it can be sold on after it has been sorted,’ he said.
He explained, ‘That really is our aim. We want as much as possible in the blue bin without any additional kerb-side containers.’ The powers that be are currently in negotiations with Viridor, who currently sort recyclate at the MRF on Masons’ Landfill Site, Great Blakenham. Stevens said that he hopes that glass could be introduced into the bins over the next two years, noting, ‘I believe we would probably collect more glass if we could recycle through the blue bins.’
It has recently been revealed that there has been a slight drop in the tonnage of waste delivered to the MRF, and Malcolm Firth argued that this could be due to the economy or eco-friendly packaging. Firth is the chairman of Suffolk Recycling Consortium, six waste collection authorities working to provide dry recycling materials to the MRF. He noted that the MRF received 44,668 tonnes of recyclate in total in 2013/12, compared to 45,027 in 2012/11 and 46,108 in 2011/2010.
Firth commented, ‘We have been predicting lower figures for a number of years, but we have not seen an overall decline in recyclate until last year. However, overall waste arising has been declining, so the proportion of recyclate has been fairly steady.’ Stevens added that people are concerned about environmental wellness, and will reduce waste where possible, noting, ‘If they have a choice and people are suitably informed they will make every effort to reduce the amount of waste they produce and lessen the need for recycling and lessen the need for waste going to landfill.’