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  1. Sorting paper inequality in recycling quality quest

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    When it comes to recycling, not all paper is the same. There are significant differences in paper quality, from the nature of the fibres to any coatings on the surface.

    That is why some paper is collected in one box at the kerbside, while other sorts of paper should go in the second box with your card. And a third sort of paper is not wanted at all and can only go in your rubbish bin or black sacks – for details, see below.

    Into your kerbside recycling box one, which is usually green, should go newspapers, magazines, leaflets, directories, white envelopes and other white paper.

    Among the sorts of paper that should be recycled with your cardboard in kerbside recycling box two, which is usually black, are brown envelopes, gift wrapping (though not the plastic or metallic versions) and greeting cards.

    This because the paper mills that recycle your paper from the kerbside collection boxes or from recycling sites, known as post-consumer waste, grade the quality of the materials they will accept to be the right sort of feedstock to manufacture their end product.

    Any contaminants in either of your recycling boxes, such as food waste, broken glass or plastic films, can cause problems at the paper mill in their recycling operations, lowering the value of the materials and increasing the risk that they may be rejected as sub-standard, which will see that load sent to costly and wasteful landfill.

    Unlike the contamination and extra costs of all-in-one-bin mixed recycling, Somerset’s twice-sorted – by both the resident and the collection crew – kerbside collection system ensures a high quality stream of materials, including paper, securing good markets with no loads rejected.

    When recycling your paper, there is no need to remove the windows from envelopes – white or brown – or the staples from publications, and you can add in all that junk mail but please do not include lots of sticky tape.

    You can use the kerbside collection service to recycle shredded paper.  To cut down on litter, it is best to add it to your paper for recycling in paper bags or old envelopes. (Alternatively, shredded paper is great resource if you make compost at home).

    And all recycling sites take paper (and card, including those brown envelopes, gift wrapping and greeting cards).

    At a paper recycling mill, it is mixed with water and chemicals to break it down, with glues and other items removed by using chemicals and screens. After de-inking and any bleaching, it can then be made into new paper and sold.

    Unlike some materials, paper fibres cannot be recycled indefinitely as they break down during the recycling process, so new fibres from harvested trees are often added to improve paper quality.

    To see some of the processes in paper recycling, check out this video made by UPM Shotton, the company that now recycles most of Somerset’s paper (NB: figures are now out of date):

    And what sort of paper is not wanted for recycling? Due to their glues, coatings and finishes, unwanted or used wallpaper or lining paper should be put into your rubbish bin or taken to any recycling site for disposal.

    To ensure transparency, SWP was the first waste authority to publish an annual end use register (EUR), which records how much of what materials are recycled and by which companies, and includes information on typical products or packaging made from the materials.

    Due to falling newspaper readership and greater use of electronic communications, the amount of paper recycled has been falling fast in Somerset.

    The first Somerset EUR in 2007-08 shows more than 19,000 tonnes of paper collected from the kerbside for recycling, with perhaps another 1,000 or more tonnes from recycling sites and other sources.

    The most recent EUR, for 2014-15, shows around 12,000 tonnes of paper from kerbside collections, along with a few hundred tonnes from recycling sites and other sources.

    PS: Did you know that it takes just seven days for this newspaper to be recycled and come back as a newspaper? Paper recycling is certainly worth it. Check here for more details on all your kerbside recycling.

     

     

     

  2. Windy, wet or worse – full weather and waste guide

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    Wet and windy weather can affect kerbside collections and recycling sites. Please find below our advice on weather and waste, including dealing with high winds to prevent your waste becoming a mess down your street. Until your waste is collected, it remains your responsibility.

     

    High winds, rain, ice and snow can all hamper kerbside collections, and with landfill costing Somerset families £12.2m this year, it is a good time to “box clever” to save money, recycle more and waste less:

    •In bad weather, check forecasts, fill containers carefully, weigh down loose materials, stack boxes with the locked food waste bin on top, and – if possible – leave in a visible but sheltered spot so recycling and refuse does not create a mess. Your waste remains your responsibility until it is collected. Except for textiles, clothes or shoes (keep dry in plastic bags, not black sacks), wet recycling is not a problem. In severe weather, services may be delayed or suspended; check the Somerset Waste Partnership website for latest news.

    •Sort and roughly segregate materials in your boxes, without using carrier bags, to speed up collections. Squash all except glass and aerosols to reduce the risk of light items, such as plastic bottles or drinks cans, being blown out of boxes. 

    •If you have storage space and too much recycling for one week, fill but do not overfill your boxes over two or more weeks. And consider visiting a recycling site to clear all your waste with no wait or worry.

    •Do not put anything that could be recycled – bottles, cans, card, paper and more, from clothes to foil – into your refuse bin or black sacks.

    •Put waste food in its kerbside container (never in your refuse bin) for recycling into clean power via the Somerset anaerobic digestion plant; do not dump it in costly and polluting landfill to decay for decades.

    •If there are delays to paid-for garden waste collections, options include home composting, taking garden waste to any open recycling site, or storing materials.

    •Check when recycling sites are open near your routes to work or leisure.

    •Finally, do help friends, family and neighbours to recycle more, waste less and save money. Pass on good advice, let them know about changes in services, and help anyone elderly, infirm or disabled with containers (and remind them about our assisted collections service) or in taking excess materials to recycling sites.

    What is open where and when

    These recycling sites are open for refuse and all kerbside recycling materials (if food waste must be discarded, double bag and place in “cannot recycle here” skip) and check here for what other materials are taken where:

    Mondays 8am-4pm: Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton, Yeovil. Mondays 8am-7pm: Castle Cary (Dimmer), Chard, Cheddar, Crewkerne (£2 entry fee), Dulverton (£2 entry fee), Highbridge, Somerton, Street, Wellington, Wells (Dulcote), Williton.

    Tuesdays-Wednesdays 8am-4pm: Bridgwater, Castle Cary, Cheddar, Crewkerne (£2 entry fee), Dulverton (£2 entry fee), Frome, Minehead, Street, Taunton, Wellington, Williton, Yeovil.

    Thursdays-Fridays 8am-4pm: Bridgwater, Chard, Frome, Highbridge, Minehead, Somerton, Taunton, Wells (Dulcote), Yeovil.

    Saturdays 8am-4pm: All 16 sites.

    Sundays 8am-1pm: Castle Cary (Dimmer), Chard, Cheddar, Crewkerne (£2 entry fee), Dulverton (£2 entry fee), Highbridge, Somerton, Street, Wellington, Wells (Dulcote), Williton.  Sundays 8am-4pm: Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton, Yeovil.

    More information about waste services, recycling sites and weather advice, including reminders about service changes and bargain bins for garden composting, can be delivered to your email inbox – just sign up for our monthly e-newsletter SORTED!

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