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Recycle More bags hundreds of extra tonnes

Recycle More bags hundreds of extra tonnes

2 December, 2020

Magnificent Mendip residents recycled a staggering 300 extra tonnes of waste in the first five weeks of Recycle More, Somerset Waste Partnership revealed today (2 December).

The impressive effort includes a 23% increase in plastic – 41 extra tonnes, or more than 900 cubic metres, roughly the same size as eight double decker buses.

The figures were shared at today’s meeting of the Joint Scrutiny Panel of the Somerset Waste Board. The panel also heard that almost all of the plastics recycled in Somerset are staying in the UK to be re-processed, with just 1% going abroad.

Somerset Waste Partnership introduced Recycle More to around 53,000 homes in Mendip at the end of October. It adds plastic pots, tubs and trays to weekly collections, along with cartons such as Tetra Paks, household batteries and small electrical items.

Every household was given a new Bright Blue Bag to hold some of the extra items.

Comparing the five weeks of Recycle More to the five weeks before it, recycling crews in Mendip collected:

  • 302 extra tonnes of recycling in total – up 11%
  • 41 extra tonnes of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays – up 23%
  • 105 extra tonnes of cardboard – up 19%
  • 141 extra tonnes of food waste – up 15%
  • 6.4 tonnes of small electrical items – never collected before
  • 1.7 tonnes of batteries – never collected before

Although it is still too early to see long-term trends, the amount of rubbish collected in Mendip has fallen by roughly 20% over the same five-week period.

Today’s panel was also given an update of the levels of plastic collected for recycling that is sent abroad for re-processing. A commitment to re-process recycling in the UK wherever possible is part of SWP’s contract with SUEZ, which took on collections at the end of March.

Between April and September this year, only 1% of the 2,000 tonnes of plastic collected in Somerset was sent abroad, with SUEZ finding UK re-processors for almost all the county’s plastic recycling.

This is compared with the 25% over the same period last year.

Mickey Green, Managing Director of SWP, said: “It’s still early days, but clearly Recycle More has had a big, big impact and will mean thousands of tonnes of extra recycling from Mendip alone over the course of a year.

“This is all down to the way Mendip has embraced the new service and it’s really satisfying to be able to let people know what a difference they are making.

“It’s about taking things out of the bin and getting them recycled, and by doing that playing our part in protecting the environment and tackling climate change.”

Mendip is the only part of Somerset getting Recycle More in 2020. The service is being rolled-out in four stages over 18 months, as depots are upgraded to handle the extra recycling.

Recycle More is due in South Somerset at the end of June/early July 2021, and the rest of the county by late February/early March 2022, though dates could be subject to change.

James Pike, SUEZ’s Regional Director for the south west, said: “Our teams have done an incredible job with the roll out of Recycle More. As more materials are put out for recycling, they have developed more efficient ways of working despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. Our teams at the depot have also adapted well to handling more plastics and new items such as batteries and small electrical appliances. People in Mendip have embraced the new service and I’d like to thank our teams for their hard work to make it happen smoothly.”

With extra recycling being collected every week, rubbish bins and sacks are now being collected every three weeks instead of every two in Mendip.

That makes it is more important for everyone to check their collection days and dates and make sure they do not miss one.

Every household in Mendip received a Collection Day Calendar in the post, spelling out recycling and rubbish collections for the next 12 months, including over Christmas and Bank Holidays.

Days and dates can be checked quickly and easily online, 24/7. Use the My Collection Day feature on the www.somersetwaste.gov.uk home page and enter your postcode and then address.

You can even download your collection days into your laptop or mobile device’s calendar.

For information about Recycle More visit somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycle-more