WasteAid finds South Africa's new 'wastepreneurs'; EA suspends permit at Carlisle area MRF; Eco opens new £2.5m wash plant; Rugby club backs vape disposal campaign
Participants in a WasteAid-backed programme in Diepsloot township near Johannesburg, South Africa, have been awarded a share of almost R240,000 (£10,046) to help them launch green businesses.
The initiative, also supported by sustainable packaging company Huhtamaki, aimed to give 18 waste collectors the skills, mentoring, and financial support they needed to improve their income. The programme culminated in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch day.
WasteAid’s director of programmes, Michelle Wilson said: “WasteAid is committed to working with communities to bring the right people together to achieve a lasting positive impact on the environment and wellbeing of those living there. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing waste collectors, who battle every day for the recognition and respect that they deserve, transform into ‘wastepreneurs’.”
The Environment Agency (EA) has suspended the waste permit for Waste Transfer Services’ Thackwood MRF near Carlisle after it stored non-hazardous waste on areas of the site that lacked sealed drainage, risking contaminated liquid entering water and pollution of the environment.
An EA statement said any further waste being brought to the site would be a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution.
A spokesperson for the EA said: “Effective regulation is vital to protect our air, land, and water from harm. That’s why the Environment Agency takes our responsibility to protect the environment very seriously.
Eco Sustainable Solutions has upgraded facilities at its Eco Park in Christchurch to include a new £2.5m wash plant.
It recycles street sweeping residues for both Bournemouth Christchurch Poole and Dorset councils, and said the new plant allowed it to process additional aggregates as bi-products of its soil recycling operation.
The company accepts more than 250,000 tonnes of organic material a year, including garden waste, wood waste and food waste, from the council and commercial customers, recycling them into marketable products or converting into green energy.
St Helens Rugby Football Club has teamed up with the borough’s council to promote safe disposal of vaping products.
It is working with Totally Wicked’s vape recycling scheme, which allows people to drop off your used vapes at local stores to be recycled.
The club warned rugby fans not to dispose of vapes in a household or public litter bin as their batteries pose a fire risk.
Three quarters would pay more for recyclable mattresses
Research by the National Bed Federation (NBF) has found that almost three-quarters of people would pay more for ‘greener’ mattresses.
The survey of 1,000 people who had purchased a mattress between July 2022 and July 2023 found that 73% would pay more if they knew it would avoid landfill at the end of its life.
“When consumers are made aware that around 75% or 5.25 million old mattresses currently end up in landfill sites every year, they start to appreciate the scale of the problem,” said Simon Williams, NBF’s head of marketing and membership.
Twenty-nine percent of people willing to pay more would accept a 5% price increase, 38% would pay between 6 and 10% more and 19% said they would pay an additional 11 to 15%.
Wood recyclers advised ahead of regulatory change
The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has reassured businesses that approaching regulatory changes will impact less than 1% of the waste wood stream.
Regulatory Position Statement 250 – which allowed permit holders to store and process potentially hazardous waste wood – is being withdrawn on 1 September, meaning some materials from pre-2007 buildings will need to be tested before they can be recycled.
WRA board member, Vicki Hughes, said: “We have been working tirelessly at the WRA, for the past 5 years, to reduce the impact of this change on the industry and to prove that the vast majority of waste wood is non-hazardous. Thankfully now only ten items are left to classify, but in the absence of the correct number of samples these will soon be deemed potentially hazardous.”
She urged businesses to continue to send samples of these remaining materials to help reduce the number further.
UKCM secures new contract with Cardiff Council
Container refurbishment specialist UK Container Maintenance has agreed a two-year contract with Cardiff Council.
The firm, which was acquired by US business Impact Environmental Group earlier this month, will provide mobile and factory-based repairs for the council’s four-wheel waste and recycling containers.
“At UKCM we already work with a significant number of local authorities across the UK and are very much looking forward to extending our expertise to support Cardiff Council,” said Sarah McGeever, UKCM sales manager.
“Working closely with the team over the next two years we will explore and identify innovative ways to refurbish their waste containers, protecting and future-proofing their investments.”
Council seeks wheelie bin enforcer
Milton Keynes City Council is recruiting for an enforcement officer to ensure residents are placing the correct items in the solid bins that will replace their plastic collections next week.
The officer will be paid up to £32,000 and tasked with investigating offences, taking witness statements and issuing fixed penalty notices.
The council said that its consultation on the new system received the most responses it had ever had. Three-quarters of residents preferred the move to wheelie bins, though the BBC reported others as calling the change ‘bin-mageddon’.
A man convicted of fly-tipping claimed he was forced to dump rubbish in public because his wheelie bin had been stolen, Kent Online has reported.
Martin Barratt, from Whitstable, said he left household waste in and around a street bin in Canterbury after refusing to pay the council for a replacement container.
Prosecutor Victoria Hayter told Folkestone Magistrates Court: “In interview he appeared to see nothing wrong with what he’d done and then called the witness a p***k.”
The court was told that just a few months before Barratt – who sometimes picks up unwanted refuse from people’s homes – had dumped a number of boxes at the roadside.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of fly-tipping and one of failing to make and maintain waste transfer notes and was given a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Falkirk Council is to introduce a two-step traffic light process where if any incorrect material is found in a bin, an amber tag will be placed highlighting to residents that items of low-level contamination are present, for example, plastic bags, plastic containers containing food scraps, or crisp bags.
Heavily contaminated bins, overweight or unsafe bins will receive a red tag and will not be collected.
Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Separating recycling correctly at home is by far the easiest way to prevent contamination and help preserve the value of the material and its potential for reuse in some form.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) had awarded a grant to Uplift360 to support its low-energy method of recycling fibres used in military body armour.
This uses sustainable chemicals to turn waste para-aramid fibres into a liquid, which can be spun back into a material with similar characteristics to the virgin one normally used.
DASA said the process could lead to a reduction in Co2 emissions, strengthen vulnerable supply chains and provide substantial cost savings for the defence budget by preserving valuable and expensive body armour materials.
Currently, body armour is incinerated when it expires, resulting in the loss of para-aramid fibres, estimated to be 85 times more expensive than steel.
Defence minister Baroness Goldie said: “The process designed by Uplift360 is a really good example of how new and intelligent thinking can transform old practices in defence.
Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging residents to make sure they dispose of old batteries correctly, after crews were called to two fires within an hour involving carelessly discarded batteries. The fires were both in lorries carrying household refuse.
Station commander Gareth Boyd said: “We have seen an increase in fires involving batteries in refuse lorries over recent months.
“Our crews work with the refuse collectors to empty the vehicle to prevent the fire from spreading, but this involves significant disruption to the road network.”
The need for over a million tonnes of steel during the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail network will support hundreds of jobs in South Wales, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire says HS2 Ltd.
The non-departmental public body says that, in the last two years, it has used nearly 20,000 tonnes of recycled British steel from CELSA Steel UK and ROM GROUP.
Ruth Todd Chief Commercial Officer at HS2 Ltd said: “The recyclable and retraceable products they supply aligns to our commitment to cut carbon in construction, as we strive to ensure HS2 is one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK.”
CELSA explained that its low carbon steel was produced in an Electric Arc Furnace, and the company was working to reduce its emission by 50% before 2030.
Scottish Borders Council has become the latest authority to blame staff issues for failed collections, following problems in Uttlesford and Swindon earlier this month.
Following missed collections in Eyemouth and Burnmouth this week, residents have been told to leav bins out and the council will arrange collection as soon as possible, reported the Border Telegraph.
It said that staff shortages and vehicle breakdown were the cause of the service delays.
A walking stick brand and a disabilities charity have partnered to launch the UK’s first recycling scheme for walking aids, reports Business Green.
Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks, working with PhysioNet will refurbish and redistribute the mobility aids after safety checks after the brand noted that online searches for walking aid recycling schemes had grown by 92% in twelve months.
"There are millions of people globally who unfortunately don't have access to mobility aids, and experience difficulties in obtaining preventative care and appropriate treatments," said Amelia Peckham, CEO of Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks.
"This scheme looks to change that and we have goals to help the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities globally."
A Warwick Bridge resident awoke to find tonnes of fly-tipped waste blocking her driveway and leaving her unable to go to work.
Janet Atkins found eight hills of refuse outside her home, near Carlisle, yesterday morning, who has been told she is responsible for the £10,000 cost of clearing the waste, reports the BBC.
"My first reaction was to phone the police. They don't deal with fly tipping,” Atkins told the BBC. "When I described that it was the amount of an articulated lorry, they said they still don't deal with fly-tipping. It's dealt with by the council."
Eventually, she was put in touch with National Highways which made arrangements to restore access to Atkins’ house.
Ben Dobson, route manager for the A69 said: "Now that the agency has concluded its investigations, arrangements are being made via Road Link for the safe removal and legal disposal of the fly-tipped waste from the A69 layby and the adjoining landowner's property."
Surf therapy charity The Wave Project has partnered with Suez UK to provide a steady supply of pre-loved wetsuits at affordable prices.
Working with Cornwall Council, wetsuits and other neoprene items will be collected at household waste and recycling centres in St Erth and Newquay which will then be cleaned and repaired by the team at The Wave Project.
Chris Lynn, general manager for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK in Cornwall said: “Through this collaboration, we are not only helping to reduce waste, but we are also supporting Cornwall’s young people…We are thrilled to have seas-ed the opportunity to work with The Wave Project in their mission to transform lives through surf therapy.”
Suez said an estimated 380 tonnes of wetsuits are thrown away each year.
A joint venture between corporate wear specialists Project Plan B and the Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCol) will recycle polyester clothing into pellets that can be re-made into textiles.
The new plant will be installed at SATCol’s Kettering facility next month and is expected to recycle around 2,500 tonnes in its first year, and 5,000 tonnes in its second.
Majonne Frost, head of environment & sustainability at SATCoL, said there were always items that were too damaged for re-sale, and these were often made from polyester.
“With this new technology we can give these clothes a new lease of life,” she said. “So when your favourite jumper is worn-out, we will take it and turn it into polyester pellets, ready to be turned back into a new jumper. This is the future of fashion.”
SATCol says it cannot rely on donations alone for feedstock and so is looking for corporate partners to donate 100% polyester textiles.
Work has started at the Easter Queenslie depot in Glasgow to prepare for what is said to be the UK’s largest materials recovery facility (MRF).
The city council is investing £20m in the project while the Scottish Government will contribute £17m to the facility which is scheduled to open in 2026. It will replace the current MRF at Blochairn.
Glasgow Live reported a council officer as having said: "When we say it is going to be a centre of excellence we mean that in every sense. It will be the largest facility of its kind anywhere in the country."
Glasgow Live said councillors sitting on the environment and liveable neighbourhoods city policy committee were updated on plans this week, being told other facilities may close as a result.
Delayed waste and recycling collections in Uttlesford are due to vehicle breakdowns and staffing issues says the county council.
One resident told the BBC her last recycling collection had been four weeks ago. "We want them to address the situation so it's back to the service we have been paying for and are paying increasing amounts for," said Hazel Fricker.
A council spokesman said it had struggled with issues including vehicle breakdowns and staffing in addition to having to empty vehicles in Braintree instead of Great Dunmow.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn officially opened waste wood recycler Timberpak’s new 150,000-tonne-capacity site in Leeds last week.
The six-acre site has a bespoke loading pit, two picking lines, a slow-speed shredder, two new weighbridges and 1,282 square metres of solar panels on the roof. The facility has the potential to double its capacity as demand increases said the company.
“We are delighted to have commissioned our new site. Not only will it increase our capacity and future-proof our business, but it will further improve the high-quality customer service we pride ourselves on,” said director Mark Hayton.
Timberpak said it has invested over £30m in its UK recycling operations in the past two years.
Tesco will remove all coloured caps on its own-brand milk in the coming weeks to make them easier to recycle.
The change will affect around 425 million bottles of milk every year, said the supermarket, adding that this will mean 3,900 extra tonnes of recycled plastic can go back into making new bottles annually.
James Waddy, category director for dairy, said: “Ensuring our packaging is as sustainable as possible is really important to us, and customer feedback on our trial of these new clear milk caps has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Four pint, 2 pint and 1 pint bottles will be changed and the company says different variants – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed – will be identifiable by coloured labels.
Renewable fuel business ReFuels has joined with John Lewis Partnerships to build a biomethane compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) refuelling station in Kent for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
Construction has started on the facility in Aylesford which will be able to fuel more than 500 trucks a day when finished – more than 19 million tonnes of Bio-CNG annually.
Philip Fjeld, chief executive of ReFuels, said: “Bio-CNG is the only fuel available today that can decarbonise the UK’s HGV fleet at the scale and pace required to meet net zero.
“Well over one hundred fleets across the UK are now adopting the fuel en masse and our new site in Aylesford, built on land acquired from the John Lewis Partnership, is a testament to this growing demand and the value fleet operators place on the enabling refuelling infrastructure.”
ReFuels aims to open 30-40 such stations by 2026, saying this could provide capacity to cut UK HGV emissions by 8%.
Refurbished consumer technology firm musicMagpie has expanded its network of SMARTDrop kiosks in the UK, with new sites in Manchester and Bristol.
The company introduced kiosks where used mobile phones can be sold for cash at 290 branches of the supermarket Asda in October 2022, and one at Manchester’s Trafford Centre earlier this year.
New kiosks will be placed in Manchester’s Arndale and Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway and Willow Brook shopping centres, with the company saying 50 million people visit these sites every year.
Steve Oliver, co-founder of musicMagpie “With millions of people visiting each of these new sites every year these will serve to increase brand awareness and promote the service making it easier than ever for customers to trade in their phone for cash, while doing something positive for the environment.”
Veolia’s Southwark integrated waste management facility has opened its doors to the public to show residents what happens to household recycling and rubbish.
The site houses one of the country’s largest MRFs and visitors had the opportunity to take a tour and talk with staff. There were also activities run by community groups including bike fixing and craft workshops.
Regional manager Matthew Crane said the day was “an opportunity for the public to witness our state-of-the-art integrated waste management facility in action”.
A landfill company has applied to Glasgow City Council to extend its contract past the original 2025 deadline despite concerns from local councillors, the Glasgow Times has reported.
Paterson’s of Greenoakhill wants to extend its operation for an additional two to four years to ensure “sufficient landfill waste management”
Local SNP councillor Alex Kerr said: “I remain opposed to any extension to the operation on the site. I will continue to engage extensively with the community and campaign with them.”
Earlier this year, members of the local community council staged a protest because of an “unbearable” smell from the site. The site was last December served with a variable monetary penalty of £6,200 by regulator the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Campaign group Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now (StEIN) has urged North London Waste Authority (NLWA) to address two “key obstacles” to the area’s transition to a low-waste, circular economy survey following the authority’s survey of residents’ waste disposal priorities.
It said NLWA should install a sorting facility, which could extract plastics and other recyclables from the waste stream prior to incineration, and drop plans to build an "unnecessary waste incinerator” in Edmonton, which the group said would lock residents into an expensive system requiring waste generation for decades to come.
StEIN founder Carina Millstone said: “We welcome efforts to feed residents’ views on waste disposal into the design of a sorely needed joint waste strategy. As it stands, however, this survey is no more than a disingenuous box-ticking exercise to help NLWA appear inclusive and responsive to residents’ priorities.”
A purpose-built public reuse shop is planned at Stevenage’s recycling centre, The Comet has reported. It said Hertfordshire County Council planned to remove the existing site office and two metal containers, and erect a replacement modular building to provide a reuse shop, new site office and staff welfare facilities.
Stevenage Borough Council told the paper: "The existing use [of the site] is well established, having been granted permission in 2005, and the facilities provided are of demonstrable benefit to the community. The proposal would enhance these facilities and support the continued operation of the site.”
Waste from Cawleys has described how one of its drivers acted when a vehicle caught fire in what proved to be a blaze caused by an electric scooter battery disposed of incorrectly.
Cawleys publicised the incident as part of its contribution to the Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) ‘Bincident’ campaign on safe disposal of flammable items.
A driver spotted smoke at the rear of his vehicle and covered its back part with the blade and contacted the fire service. After the blaze was brought under control the vehicles was given to its depot, the load ejected and the fire fully extinguished.
Jacob Hayler, ESA executive director, said: “The recent battery fire incident experienced by Cawleys is unfortunately a common occurrence across the recycling and waste management sector. Modern lithium-ion batteries are extremely powerful and can put lives, infrastructure and the environment at risk if they are placed in the wrong bin.”
Hundreds of streets in Leicestershire have been hit by the latest round of bin strikes, the Leicester Mercury has reported.
Action by the GMB union has refuse workers with North West Leicestershire District Council engaged in slower working practices and working to rule in a dispute about shift patterns.
The worst hit area was Donisthorpe, where recycling went uncollected in 30 streets and 146 streets altogether were affected last week.
A council statement said: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused as we understand how important recycling collections are to residents. We will continue to work together with all of our crews and the union on a resolution.”
Aberdeenshire Council is giving trade customers a free 240-litre recycling bin during the 2023-24 financial year as twin-stream collections start.
The additional bins will not count towards users’ recycling costs until next year when the correct number has been established for all waste and recycling streams.
These bins may be used for metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, food and drink cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, and will be collected every three weeks alongside household collections. Existing trade service bins will become for paper, card, and cardboard only.
Infrastructure services committee chair Alan Turner, said: “Collecting paper, card, and cardboard separately from other recycling will ensure it stays clean and dry - reducing contamination and creating a higher quality product that helps to subsidise the costs of waste collection.”
Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters responded to a fire at a recycling centre on Benedict Wharf in Mitcham.
Residents were advised by London Fire Brigade to keep doors and windows shut, due to the large amount of smoke being produced from approximately 20 tonnes of rubbish. Crews deployed a 32m ladder as a water tower to fight the fire from height. The cause of the fire has been recorded as undetermined.
Cheshire Police have found fly-tipping “on an industrial scale" at a site between Congleton and Macclesfield.
Its rural crime team acted on information received and found a dirt track where a large lorry was surrounded by approximately 200 tonnes of waste (pictured).
Officers seized the truck, which was carrying 35 tonnes of waste, and police said the driver was voluntarily interviewed under caution.
PC Rob Stordy said: “Criminals are very much mistaken if they think it isn’t an issue we take seriously – our team is always committed to finding those responsible and in doing so making Cheshire a no go area for criminals who are not only a blight on our countryside, but a danger to our environment.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council will allow people to leave additional black bags alongside their general waste bins as the authority seeks to tackle fly-tipping.
The council told residents they can leave two bags by their grey bins, no earlier than 7pm on the evening before collection, after residents continued to put out additional ‘side waste’ believing this to be legal.
The council said this attracts further dumping, as well as rats and other animals, preventing a health issue for residents.
Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for environment and enforcement said: "This message is another positive step in tackling the issue our neighbourhoods face each day.
"We want residents to take pride in where they live, and it starts with eradicating illegal dumping."
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Birmingham City Council at fault after it failed to adequately investigate missed recycling collections.
Repeated missed collections caused the resident “avoidable distress, time and trouble” found the ombudsman, which said the council had agreed to apologise and pay a financial remedy of £300.
The complainant said that three quarters of her collections had been missed between July and October 2022, and that that collection workers were rude and told her that the bin was not close enough to the road.
After repeated complaints last year, the ombudsman asked whether a “rotten culture” had been allowed to pervade Birmingham’s waste collection services.
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
Countryside charity Action to Protect Rural Scotland has proposed that 16 August become Scotland’s first annual National Litter Day.
The date would have marked the official launch of Scotland’s deposit return scheme for drinks containers before late intervention from Westminster forced further delays to the project.
“We think this date is a fitting day to mark Scotland’s first National Litter Day,” said Dr Kat Jones, Director of Action to Protect Rural Scotland. “A day when the lobbyists who sought to block Scotland’s deposit return scheme can congratulate themselves on the success of their campaign, while our communities and environment suffer another year with so much avoidable litter.
At any point UK Ministers could abandon their disruptive ban on the inclusion of glass, and at any point Scottish Ministers could bring in deposits on cans and plastic bottles. If neither change their approach many more National Litter Days await Scotland’s towns, beaches and countryside.”
A road maintenance company that also hires out vehicles for waste management has secured a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK to buy 12 new vehicles including road sweepers and bitumen sprayers from Germany.
JM Clark, based in Erith, south-east London, said the funding was expected to lead to 15 new jobs. It has 60 employees and a fleet of more than 50 vehicles.
A Bracknell man has been jailed for three years and three months after recklessly setting fire to a recycling bin below a flat, the Bracknell News has reported.
Barry Newman, of South Lynn Crescent, Bracknell, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of arson with reckless endangerment to life.
He set fire to a recycling bin outside a block of flats in Threshfield and CCTV footage captured him watching the fire, opening and closing the lid of the bin before walking away. The fire grew and a neighbour extinguished it from his outside tap.
Detective constable Robert Chevalier said: “Thankfully, the fire was extinguished and no one was injured as a result of Newman’s actions.
“Fire can be deadly. This incident could have been significantly worse without the actions of the neighbours who extinguished the fire.
Enfinium has reached a renewed refuse derived fuel waste supply agreement with Ellgia for its Ferrybridge 1 and 2 energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities in Yorkshire.
It said these two plants process up to 1.45m tonnes of residual waste a year, used to generate up to 170MW of electricity to the National Grid businesses.
Waste and recycling company Ellgia will extend its existing supply contract with Enfinium by a further five years and more than double its supply volume when the Skelton Grange EfW enters commercial operation in 2025.
Mike Maudsley, chief executive of Enfinium, said: “Together, our Ferrybridge 1 and 2 facilities are the single largest energy from waste site in the UK, transforming non-recyclable waste into homegrown energy to power nearly 370,000 UK homes and businesses every year. We look forward to working with Ellgia to continue the vital work that energy from waste plays in decarbonising the UK”.
Recycling and waste management equipment company CRJ Services has formed a partnership with agricultural, municipal and recycling machines manufacturer Pronar, under which it will exclusively distribute Pronar trommel screens and associated parts across Great Britain.
Director Rob Symons said: “CRJ prides itself on offering a wide array of machinery into the waste and recycling industry supported by first class service. Joining in partnership with Pronar further improves our ability to offer our customers a first class product. CRJ will be adding Pronar trommels into its own hire fleet and will also have units for sale.
Scottish project to recover rare metals from wind turbines
A partnership between Aberdeen waste management company SEM and researchers from the University of Edinburgh plan to extract rare elements from used wind turbines.
With funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) the consortium has developed a process to recover these materials using a combination of bio-based chemicals.
Then SEM’s pioneering DRAM system – using co-products produced in the distillation of malt whiskey - filters out the waste liquids to ensure they can be safely disposed of.
"Metals like niobium, tantalum and rhenium are essential for the integrity of steel-based components commonly used in wind turbines and other high-temperature engines, but most of the stocks are still mined from the earth,” said lead scientist at SEM Leigh Cassidy.
"If used at scale, this type of process could be a big boost for UK manufacturing and unlock a new sustainable, circular supply chain where rare metals are recovered from existing alloys.”
Council scraps separate paper collection
Redcar & Cleveland Council is to scrap its paper collection caddies after its contractor installed facilities to sort paper at its recycling centre.
The council said Cumbria Waste Management’s ability to sort paper meant residents could now include this with the rest of their recycling, and so the caddies were no longer needed.
Another factor in the council’s decision was the decline in readership of print newspapers, which it said meant less paper was collected than in the past.
Adam Brook, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and housing, said: “This is a sensible decision which means we, as a council, no longer have to purchase and distribute the caddies to households throughout the borough, saving time and money. We would like to stress that the paper will still be recycled.”
Ireland introduces waste recovery levy
The Republic of Ireland introduced new regulations designed to encourage recycling and reduce landfill, including a levy of €10 per tonne for waste recovery.
Charges will apply only to ‘black’ bin waste, with the department of the environment, climate and communications saying households could reduce costs by reusing and recycling as much as possible.
Circular minister Ossian Smyth said: “The key message for households and businesses is that more recycling means lower costs,” expressing confidence that Ireland can meet EU waste targets. These require 55% of municipal waste to be reused or recycled by 2025. As of 2020, Ireland recycled 41%.
The new legislation, which comes into effect from 1 September will also increase the current landfill levy by €10, bringing it to €85 per tonne.
Somerset recycler set for million-pound expansion
Somerset-based Towens Waste Management Ltd have secured a £1m loan to invest in its recycling capacity.
The family-owned company received the funds from HSBC UK to separates subsoil into sand, stone and clay to be returned to the construction industry for reuse.
“At present, subsoil removed from construction sites is mainly sent to disused quarries and ends up in landfill,” said executive chairman John Telling. “It struck us that our business could support the construction industry and create an additional revenue stream by recycling this material.”
HSBC’s area director James Shepherd said Towens was a great example of a growing business: “Starting out as a small skip-hire company and evolving into a multi-faceted waste management business.”
FHOSS has installed an illuminated safety walkway system at an MRF in Calne, Wiltshire, run by Hills Waste Solutions.
It provides a traffic light system where pedestrians need to cross where plant is moving and also uses illuminated markers and electromagnetic gates to control the flow of pedestrians and vehicles.
Andrew Kimitri, chief executive of FHOSS, said: “Using illuminated walkways and crossing points works at all times of the day. They are a huge benefit when light levels are low at the beginning and end of the day or where there is shadow and shade, but also clearly signal during hours of daylight where vehicles and pedestrians can move safely.”
Maidstone Borough Council has asked households to make sure recycling bins are not contaminated with the wrong materials after calculating that reject loads cost it £25,000 in only two months.
Patrik Garten, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “Dirty nappies, black sacks and plastic bags are the most common items incorrectly placed in recycling bins. These must all be put into your main household black bin and cannot be recycled.
“Maidstone council needs to crack down on households which not only upset our fabulous recycling rates but whose actions impose unnecessary costs, which ultimately all taxpayers will have to bear.”
Sittingbourne and Sheppey’s Conservative MP Gordon Henderson has visited MVV Environment’s Ridham Dock facility as part of a series of visits by MPs to biomass plants organised by the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA).
The 25MW combined heat and power biomass plant opened in 2015 and processes 195,000 tonnes of waste wood a year into renewable electricity and heat.
WRA chair Richard Coulson said: “Government policy has helped our sector to grow and the plant at Ridham is a great example of the many benefits our sector provides.”
Mold Town Council has relaunched a reuse scheme for unwanted school uniforms and rucksacks, The Leader has reported.
It began before the pandemic in 2002 when more than 1,000 items were donated and distrusted free to parents. A statement from Mold Town Council said “the response has been amazing”.
Augean has secured a 20-year contract to collect and treat up to 20,000 tonnes annually of air pollution control residues from the Slough Multifuel Facility, which will produce electricity and heat through treating waste-derived fuels once commissioned in 2024.
The company will collect the residues for treatment at its East Northants resource management facility, which earlier this year received a development consent order to extend its life to 2046.
Commercial director Richard Brooke said: “We went through a competitive procurement exercise to secure this long-term contract and we’re delighted to have been successful to partner Slough Multifuel. Our permitted and resilient operational capacity and capability stands-out, together with our ability to handle a wide APCr specification and other residues, received in tankers and bagged.”
James Cropper, which provides technology to upcycle used coffee cups, has said it can now recycle the waste plastic as well as the paper from each disposable cup.
It said that, until now, the 5% of waste plastic was used for energy recovery in the production of recycled paper.
Working with partners Cumbria Waste and New Horizon Plastics this will now be processed into pellets most commonly used in commercial packaging and agricultural applications.
Rob Tilsley, fibre operations group leader, said: “Recognising value in the high quality fibre used to create paper cups, we were inspired to convert this enormous waste stream into a value stream instead, and now we’ve taken it even further.”
Fires hit waste sites at Tilbury and Northern Ireland last week. Essex Fire & Rescue Service said it was called to a site in Dock Road, Tilbury, where fire affected an area used to store fridges for recycling, scrap metal and a 40 foot container with bikes and plastics inside. There was also a number of cylinders on site.
Crews from four fire stations attended and an investigation will take place to find the cause.
Meanwhile, the BBC has reported that the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service was called to a recycling facility in Ballygomartin Industrial Park, where four appliances and about 30 firefighters were needed to extinguish a fire.
Press release and BBC
A spectacle recycling scheme has been restarted after the pandemic by charitable group Knutsford Lions.
Opticians across the town have offered to collect unwanted glasses to be distributed to Medico France, which supplies them to eye facilities in Africa, India and eastern Europe.
Lions member Penny Buttrick said: “Lions clubs nationally have recycled over one million pairs of spectacles in the last year. We are very grateful to the opticians in our area who participate, and members of the public who donate to this worthwhile scheme.”
Environmental charities and Environmental Agency (EA) staff took part in a mass litter-picking event this summer, collecting nearly 700 bags of rubbish.
The annual Plasticblitz involves volunteers clearing, recording and recycling rubbish from rivers and riverbanks. Plastic made up 71% of the total, with cigarette ends the most commonly found item.
“Although the figures for plastic pollution are shocking, it’s always great to see how much difference determined volunteers can make to our rivers,” said Maria Herlihy, a waterways manager at the EA.
Two young boys in the town of Elie, in Fife, have started a neighborhood glass collecting business, telling local press they “feel like millionaires”.
After seeing an older sibling get a job, cousins Jayden and Ashton Blake decided to offer a recycling service to the community, with Ashton’s mum advertising the service on local Facebook groups.
Using a donated card, the pair go door-to-door charging £2 for a carrier bag of recycling and £3 for a box. They have made £80 since starting their work.
Pharmaceutical company Kenvue has partnered with supermarket Tesco to help customers dispose of hard-to-recycle medicine packaging.
Shoppers can leave plastic syringes, blister packs, plastic medicine spoons and empty bottles at recycling units in stores across the country, or they can send them free by post.
Charmaine England, area managing director for Northern Europe at Kenvue – owner of the Calpol brand – said they were familiar with the difficulty people had in recycling these items.
“By launching this innovative trial, we’re helping to increase the chances of our plastic materials being recycled and used in new products such as plastic children’s tables and chairs, helping to protect our environment,” she said.
The small items, which can be missed by machinery at standard recycling facilities, will be sent to MYgroup subsidiary company ReFactory to be processed into the plywood-like composite MyBoard.
Innovate Recycle have said carpet recycling is key to cutting emissions in the sector after opening a recycling factory in Duston.
The £10m facility aims to repurpose 20,000 tonnes of waste carpet every year, pointing to figures that show only 2% of the UK’s 500,000 tonnes of annual carpet waste was currently being recycled.
A line of machines deconstructs polypropylene plastic from the backing layer of carpets, creating pellets that can be used for storage containers, car bumpers and other products.
The Isle of Man government is seeking businesses interested in recycling sediment removed from Peel Marina.
Some 23,000 cubic metres of sediment was dredged to ensure the marina’s continued operation and placed in a temporary storage lagoon to dry out.
Research for the Manx Department of Infrastructure indicated that grading and/or soil treatment could improve its quality enough to no longer be classified as waste and so avoid the need for landfill. It could provide “several thousand tons of useable sand-like material “for a contractor.
Retired Royal Navy submarine HMS Swiftsure has dry-docked at Rosyth as it prepares for dismantling, Forces.net has reported.
The Submarine Delivery Agency said Swiftsure would be the first UK nuclear-powered submarine to be fully dismantled by the end of 2026 and no other nation had attempted this exercise. It expected around 90% of components could be reused or recycled.
Swiftsure was part of the Swiftsure-class of nuclear-powered attack submarines that entered service in the 1970s and served for more than 20 years.
Recoup has launched a litter composition and pathways project to improve data on litter
It said this was crucial as proposed reforms aimed at reducing litter rely heavily on accurate and robust data sets. Current litter projects though often face limitations in data collection methods, leading to a lack of consistency and reliability.
Recoup said it aimed to develop a standardised, evidence-based methodology for collecting and analysing litter, creating a comprehensive data set and would explore the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence
Video footage has captured the moment a binman launched a resident’s bin into a waste truck on the street, the Manchester Evening News has reported.
Amanda Nicholson put her bin outside her home in Wythenshawe but it was missing the next day as was another bin. A neighbour checked her CCTV to discover footage of a the man emptying her green bin into the van before “checking nobody is watching", then doing a “strong man act” and launching the whole bin into the back of the truck.
Biffa, which collects household waste for Manchester City Council's behalf, apologised and said it was taking internal action but its employee had believed the bin to be damaged,
Manchester Evening News
FCC Environment has recorded 10 years with no incidents in its partnership with SiteZone Safety, which specialises in managing plant-to-pedestrian collision risks.
Its proximity warning system SiteZone is installed on 217 FCC machines across 74 sites with 2,843 tags in use. Vehicles generally do not start operating on-site without SiteZone installed, often fitted at the manufacturer prior to the machine being delivered to site.
Paul Stokes, head of safety, health, environment and quality at FCC Environment, said:”We first started working with SiteZone in 2012. We were looking for an additional layer of protection for our plant to help with blind spots and managing the risk of collisions between people and moving plant.
"When we implemented the SiteZone system it was well received. As with any new working practice it took a while to embed but it's now very much a part of the FCC makeup.”
Glass recycling company Recresco has said it is the first UK firm in that sector to achieve operational carbon neutrality following a detailed process to establish the full carbon footprint of business operations and identification of suitable measures.
Carbon neutrality has been secured by working with Redshaw Advisors, and supporting the Larimar Wind Farm Project, in the Dominican Republic, and Evergreen Amazon REDD+ projects.
Project lead Melanie Mason said: “The nature of our business involves high energy consumption, and we believe it is important to address this in an efficient and environmentally responsible way. Achieving carbon neutrality forms just one part of our strategy around the climate crisis and we are really excited to announce this achievement whilst continuing to work on a series of other exciting projects.”
Conwy County Borough Council has warned residents they face a £100 fixed penalty if they fail to recycle. Its Keeping up With the Joneses campaign will target households that recycle very little or nothing.
Geoff Stewart, cabinet member for neighbourhood and the environment, said: “When people don’t recycle what they can, we all lose out on the money we could make from selling recyclable materials, such as cans, paper, card and plastic. It also means we have to pay more than we need to get rid of the rubbish placed in black bins, because some of this could have been recycled.”
He said the cost to the council of not recycling was “significant, but also completely avoidable”.
Packaging firm DS Smith has developed new trays and lids for sushi brand Eat Happy, made from corrugated cardboard and in a range of sizes, Packaging News has reported. DS Smith said the trays could save more than 1,250 tonnes of plastic per year.
Volker Quaas, head of design and innovation for Germany and Switzerland at DS Smith, said: “The biggest challenge for us is that freshly prepared sushi remains in direct contact with the packaging during the refrigeration process at counter level.
“It’s also vital that the product can be seen and is visible via a window within the tray and these careful design elements need to fit fully with materials that work within the circular economy. The solution is beneficial for our clients because it is fully in line with current legislation to avoid single-use plastic.”
Liverpool’s 24 acre recreational area Southern Grasslands has reopened having been regenerated from the recycled soil of a former landfill site.
The city council said over the past two years more than 400,000 cubic metres of soil and waste has been removed from the Festival Gardens development zone, which was used as a public waste deposit facility for some 30 years.
More than 95% of this material has been recycled including 100,000 cubic metres of earth at Southern Grasslands.
Laura Robertson-Collins, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Its creation marks the end of a truly monumental two-year long process to excavate the nearby development zone – and is testament to how nature and wildlife can benefit from development when we put our minds to it.”
Engineering thermoplastics supplier Polyplastics Group has launched an initiative named Duracircle for recycling these materials.
Its first phase is a re-compounding service, which will offer mechanically recycled materials starting by March 2024.
Polyplastics plans to develop and offer recycling technologies for post-consumer recycled materials which it considers even harder to reprocess, using mechanical recycling, chemical recycling, and biogenic carbon cycles as needed.
Organisers of the Stranraer Oyster Festival have pledged to collect the shell of every oyster consumed at the festival. rather than discarding them.
These will be cleaned and then weathered on the edge of Loch Ryan for almost a year before being returned to the floor of the loch to create a habitat for the native oyster bed.
Its sustainability lead Allana Hardie said: “The beauty and ecological importance of Loch Ryan and its wild, native oyster bed is at the very heart of Stranraer Oyster Festival, and we have always been mindful of our responsibility to manage the festival sustainably. This year we want to go even further. We’ve reviewed every area of festival and site management to see where we can reduce our environmental footprint.”
Yorwaste is to run its Get reCycling campaign throughout this month, allowing people in York and North Yorkshire to take unwanted bikes to drop off points at its 22 household waste recycling centres, The York Press has reported.
Bikes will be accepted in any condition and repaired or used for parts and redistributed by charity Brownlee Foundation, and given to schools for pupils to use.
James Todd, commercial business partner at Yorwaste said: “We’re always looking for ways to evolve our Get reCycling campaign each year, whilst highlighting the importance of reusing items and the role this plays in achieving a more sustainable economy."
The York Press
Austria’s Andritz is to supply Enva Northern Ireland with a plant to recycle fridges in one step at its new site in Toomebridge.
Andritz said the plant would be able to process 70 fridges per hour and is due to open next year.
Barry Phillips, of Enva Northern Ireland, said: “The new Andritz plant, in addition to doubling our current capacity, will also achieve the final shred size in a single step, giving us high-quality output material ready for sale.”
Franz Frühauf, Andritz’s sales director said the heart of the plant was the ADuro QZ shredder, which does not use any cutting tools, but quickly breaks up fridges by using the effects of impact forces.
Waste management firm MYGroup and care provider Nimbuscare has recycled more than 75,000 empty tablet packets in York since February.
MYGroup has provided 110-litre recycling boxes to 22 GPs and pharmacies in the area. One hundred and seventy kilograms of blister packs having been collected, which are then remanufactured into new material at the groups’ Hull facility.
"MYGroup offers the only circular solution on the market for recycling blister packs and we’re only just getting started in this critical waste space," said director Steve Carrie.
St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle, Cornwall, has become the first to use a mobile laundry system to make the reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) simpler.
Rather than send reusable face masks, gowns, and other PPE items to a centralised laundry facility for sterilisation, sustainable medical textiles firm Revolution-Zero has developed a modular solution to reduce carbon costs.
“The realisation of our first ZERO-DECON medical textiles processing unit in Cornwall is a major milestone for us in our drive to displace, through circular economy solutions, single-use from healthcare supplies in the UK and worldwide,” said Revolution-Zero founder Dr Tom Dawson.
The laundry modules – the first of which is based in Truro - can be built in three months and use an advanced IT system to track. Dr Dawson feels the model could be of use in low-income countries where access to disinfection is difficult.
Plans for a solar farm on the Brogborough landfill site in Lidlington have been refused by councillors who have labelled the scheme ‘overbearing’.
Infinis Solar Developments Limited have applied for a 74,000-panel project on the 168-acre site, which would take 8 months to complete.
Councillors said that, after hosting the largest landfill in Europe until 2008, the site had been restored and the development would harm birdlife and block views.
“The scale of this project is overbearing,” said Brogborough Parish Council. “The effect on local wildlife would be devastating. The birdlife would be totally destroyed, if the development is allowed to proceed.”
A disused runway at the former Samlesbury Aerodrome is being recycled into new road surfacing materials for Lancashire County Council.
The former airfield is being dug up in preparation for expansion of the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone. Around 17,000 tonnes of this recycled material will be used to resurface nearby roads.
Rupert Swarbrick, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We're increasingly taking advantage of developments in the highways industry such as the availability of recycled asphalt to reduce the environmental impact of maintaining our roads. As well as helping to cut our carbon footprint, we no longer have the waste, and cost, of disposing of the old road surface.”
The JANS Group has bought a majority stake in BlueMAC, which designs and makes material processing systems and waste recycling facilities.
Antrim-based JANS Group’s businesses include electric and commercial vehicles, campervans, modular builds and composite manufacturing.
Michael Rea, chief operating officer of the JANS Group and former general manager of BlueMAC, said: “The acquisition supports the development of our sales presence in the UK, and across the world, especially in Australia. It also allows us to export into new international markets and to continue to build our green agenda in line with our waste to energy plans and in conjunction with the other businesses in the group.”
A community fund run by Recycle for Greater Manchester and contractor Suez from money raised via the conurbation’s ‘Renew’ shops and online market, had allocated £220,000 for 22 community and voluntary projects among the region’s boroughs.
Two projects will run across Greater Manchester. These are Community Cookery Champions , which deals with food waste, and the Creative Composting Club which promotes composting in schools.
A Belfast candlemaker who uses upcycled materials to make his goods has won the Young Traders Market regional final, the Belfast Telegraph has reported.
Patrick Frazer’s Candle Bottle Bank manufactures handmade products upcycled from bottles, jars and tins. A national final will be held later in the year at Stratford-upon-Avon.
A racing team has unveiled a fully functioning car made entirely from discarded electronics.
Formula E team Envision Racing presented the ‘Recover E’ car on the BBC’s One Show in the hope of raising awareness of e-waste.
The replica of the team’s electronic racing vehicles was created by artist Liam Hopkins using materials including chargers, disposable vapes, mobile phones and batteries.
The National Bed Federation (NBF) is calling on the Government to provide a regulatory framework for nationwide mattress recycling services.
The federation says that 4.75 million mattresses end up in landfill or incinerators each year, equivalent to an area almost four times as big as the City of London, saying that many areas of the country have no mattress recycling facilities.
“Given the ever-growing concern about global warming and increasing demand from consumers for sustainable options, we believe that the Government should move towards implementing a national mattress recycling service as a priority,” said NBF director of special projects Jessica Alexander.
While the number of mattresses sent for recycling between 2014 and 2022 has more than doubled, says the NBF, the real rate of recycling has decreased.
The East London Waste Authority will implement a booking system to reduce the number of commercial vans misusing waste and recycling centres.
A new system, built by Bookinglab, is designed to stop undeclared waste disposal, reduce DIY waste inputs, stop non-residents using the site, manage traffic flows and improve recycling rates.
“In introducing a booking system for vans and trailers, we anticipate that we will see a reduction in the tipping of undeclared commercial waste, providing a saving to the taxpayer,” said the ELWA’s head of waste and support services, Neil Greenhalgh.
The authority will also use the system to impose fair usage restrictions, including a limit of 12 bookings per household per year and the need to provide a valid postcode before booking.
Recycling charity recoup has partnered with children’s radio station Fun Kids to launch a series of podcasts designed to teach them about recycling.
The ‘Sort it Out’ series, created with Recoup’s national plastics recycling educational initiatives Pledge2Recycle Plastics, aims to inform children about recycling and sustainability.
"We believe that fostering environmental awareness from an early age is essential for building a sustainable future,” said Carly Dadge, communications and marketing manager at Recoup.
“Collaborating with Fun Kids allows us to reach a wide audience of young learners and instill in them a passion for plastic recycling and protecting our planet."
Supermarket chain Aldi is to remove ‘use by’ dates from its fresh milk to help reduce food waste and will instead use ‘best before’ dates – except for filtered milk – to prevent milk from being thrown away unnecessarily.
It said WRAP had pointed to nearly 300,000 tonnes of milk wasted by UK households each year, half of which had stated this was because it had not been consumed by the 'use by’ date.
Liz Fox, sustainability director at Aldi UK, said: “We hope shoppers embrace this change and look, smell, and taste their milk to see if it’s still fine to use, so together we can reduce the effect food waste has on the environment.”
Low value plastic waste collected by Exeter City Council is being turned into benches by manufacturer Circular 11, which council waste collection and recycling staff have been testing during their break times.
Once Exeter has collected and granulated the plastic, Circular 11 manufactures the benches in their facility on the south coast.
Circular 11’s Ben Gibbons said: “All of the plastics in these benches have been permanently saved from landfill and incineration. Even when the benches reach the end of their life, we'll recycle them back into more products. They demonstrate that there can be a sustainable future for plastics when we work together to improve the effectiveness of recycling systems.”
Regulator Natural Resources Wales has granted Powys County Council a permit for a new facility for the bulking of non-hazardous material from kerbside collections at Abermule Business Park, after a previous application was refused earlier this year.
The site will be able to process up to 22,500 tonnes a year of non-hazardous waste, with a maximum of 425 tonnes to be kept on site at any one time.
The Royal Liverpool Golf Club averted the sale and use of tens of thousands of single-use plastic bottles during the recent Open event by using drinking water stations provided by Sweden’s Bluewater.
Organisers said this avoided the use of 87,966 single-use 500 ml plastic bottles, which would have ended up in landfills or oceans .
Bluewater provided on-site water purifiers and dispensers, where people could refill their reusable water bottles throughout the venue.
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