Recycling fund boosts initiatives

Defra’s National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund is providing a welcome stimulus to the development of local authority recycling schemes to meet tougher recycling targets as councils struggle to cope with the “fridge mountain” and prepare for the impact of the forthcoming Waste Electrical and Electronic (WEEE) Regulations. Editor Alexander Catto reviews development in this key recycling sector, in the latest of LAWE’s Tracking Trends features, that also reports on recent applications of recycling equipment and technology.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett last month allocated £76 million from the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund to help local authorities set up 142 recycling and waste initiatives across England.

Announcing the most recent grants in the wake of the waste report from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Mrs Beckett said: “We certainly do need to raise our game on recycling, whatever other measures are put in place.”

She added: “However, I am pleased to see that projects from the first round of funding are already beginning to take shape. Three councils in the North East have combined to launch a kerbside recycling scheme in their area. Wear Valley, Teesdale and Derwentside Councils will be distributing green boxes and sacks to over 80,000 households to enable people to recycle paper, card, cans, glass and textiles.”

Kerbside collection boosted

Allocations from the latest of the fund indicate that kerbside recycling schemes will be given a major boost, with grants around the £1 million – or more – mark going a councils nationwide, including Bournemouth, Braintree, Bromsgrove, Cherwell, Dacorum, Harborough, Horsham, with many other local authorities receiving smaller sums.

In other initiatives, Greater Manchester WDA, in partnership with local councils has been awarded nearly £5 million for the provision of kerbside dry recyclables and awareness raising, whilst Hampshire CCC, again is partnership, is receiving £2.4 million for the provision of an open windrow compost facility to process an additional 30,000 tonnes of green garden waste.

Chichester DC has received over £100,000 to for the employment of four Waste Awareness Officers to increase participation rates in recycling schemes, Crawley BC was awarded nearly £40,000 to expand and improve storage facility and transport capacity for a furniture re-use and recycling initiative, Leeds CC won nearly £500,000 for the creation of mini recycling centres for high rise developments, Warwickshire CC was awarded over £190,000 to provide a wood chipping service to schools and all residents within the county at their homes and Wychavon DC, in a partnership bid with Malvern DC, received £165,486 for the introduction of new permanent micro recycling sites into rural and urban areas.

One of the big winners in the competition for Defra funds is a scheme set up under the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Waste Management Partnership Forum which has been awarded almost £4 million. The bulk of the award will go towards setting up kerbside green waste collections at an additional 87,000 households. A further sum was awarded to form a community recycling network and launch an awareness campaign. Peterborough City has been awarded £266,000 to establish an electrical equipment reprocessing facility in advance of the introduction of WEEE.

Waste reduction and recycling initiatives continue to come on stream across the country. On 16 December, the Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Michael Boss, launched a new household waste reduction pilot scheme at The Lifebuilding Company at St James. One of the first of its kind in the country, the scheme’s ultimate aim is to minimise waste and recycle up to 50% of the community’s rubbish.

Funded for an initial two years through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the scheme is intended as the first in a series of waste reduction partnerships between Northampton BC and community groups.

In Kent an innovative recycling trial, funded by a £76,190 grant by the Hanson Environment Fund, set out to challenge opinions nationwide and reduce the amount of waste disposed of by householders, has published its results.

Using the award, the Resource Recovery Forum has undertaken a major investigation into the quality and quantity of re-usable material that can be recovered, using co-collected blue-bagged dry recyclables with black bagged residual waste. The 12-month study in the Gravesham district of Kent, involved a large-scale co-collection scheme to enable a comprehensive study of material flows, recyclable quality, the incidence of any health and safety issues and public perception issues associated with the recovery scheme.

The trial successfully shows that the co-collection of recyclable materials in a separate plastic bag (“blue bag”), with general refuse bags in a standard refuse collection vehicle, can be effective. The results indicated that this trial, at 10% diversion from landfill and 8% recovery of recyclables from total waste, was nearly twice as successful as other similar trials around the UK that have achieved 4% recovery of recyclables from total waste.

Glass recycling progress

New initiatives to develop and expand the use of waste glass (cullet) in recycling have recently received a boost on both the research and application fronts.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with some 25 industrial partners, have funded the university’s Centre for Cement and Concrete to carry out two major investigations – with a total value of around £1.2 million – into the potential for using cullet a as high value ingredient in concrete.

It is hoped that the projects, known as ConGlassCrete I and ConGlassCrete II, will lead to waste glass being used in a wide range of products. The products are focussed especially on developing cullet as a decorative, exposed or polished aggregate finish in bespoke concrete products, and as a high value cementitious material that will reduce consumption of Portland cement. Other potential applications is being explored include as fibre reinforcement, or general low value aggregate, for concrete.

The R&D work is a response to EU pressure to increase reuse container glass, and comes ahead of legislation on recycling car windscreens and laws governing end-of-life vehicle glass, light bulbs and glass fibres.

Westminster City Council is putting the recycling of glass into practice with the use of a new product made from recycled glass as a base for block paving in the resurfacing of Stratford Place.

Glass collected throughout Westminster and other London Boroughs is supplied to a London Remade Eco Site, operated by Day Group Ltd. It is then processed, which enables councils like Westminster to buy back its own glass bottle waste and use it as a sub layer for roads. A load equivalent to 50,000 bottles or 10 bottle banks is being used for this project.

Praising Westminster’s initiative, Colin Roberts, commented: “If each London Borough were to follow this initiative and used this product of their resurfacing needs, over the next three years at least 75,000 tonnes of mixed glass could be diverted away from landfill and back into the capital’s infrastructure.”

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