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Have you ever wondered what happens to your household waste after it's collected from your kerbside? The efforts you put into separating your waste into blue bins, green bins, and brown bins have a significant impact on the environment and our community. In this article, we'll dive into the journey of your household waste and shed light on why responsible waste management matters. Let's explore what happens to your household waste, from recycling to incineration, and how you can contribute to a more sustainable future.
Many people believe that non-recyclable waste, the stuff that ends up in your general waste or residual bin, heads straight to landfills, while recyclable waste is shipped off to foreign countries. However, if you live in the North East of England, where J&B Recycling operates, your general household waste takes a different route. It's sent to Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities, such as those on Teesside.
If you live in the North East of England, you'll be pleased to know that incinerating general waste to produce electricity is considered a more environmentally friendly option than landfill. Here's why:
- Energy Generation: Incineration converts waste into electricity by producing steam that powers a turbine, feeding electricity into the national grid. Some facilities even use the generated heat for local heating schemes, effectively recovering energy from waste.
- Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When waste decomposes in landfills, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Incineration prevents the release of methane into the atmosphere, contributing to a reduction in global warming. It's important to note that many landfills in the UK now have capabilities to capture methane to produce electricity for the national grid, ensuring a more sustainable waste management process.
Contrary to some misconceptions, the majority of recyclable waste handled by J&B Recycling is indeed recycled within the UK. While some recyclables are exported for processing, this is due to the global nature of recycling commodities, with different countries having varying demands and markets for manufacturing products.
High-tech, well-managed recycling facilities are not exclusive to the UK, and waste crime, such as fly tipping, occurs even here. However, if you reside in the North East of England, you can be assured that your domestic waste, managed by Local Authority schemes, isn't ending up in foreign lands or polluting distant shores and rivers.
In the grand scheme of things, recycling is a commendable step in waste management, as it transforms waste into something new. But, even better options exist:
1. Reuse: Whenever possible, reuse items in their original form. For example, opt for a reusable coffee cup instead of a disposable one.
2. Reduce: The best environmental choice is to reduce waste from the outset. Consider products and packaging carefully and minimise unnecessary waste generation.
When your mixed recyclables are collected from your kerbside, they are taken to a sorting plant. At J&B Recycling, our sophisticated Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) efficiently produces high-quality sorted materials. The process involves machines that remove contaminants and separate materials by size, shape, and type using various methods, including screens, magnets, and infrared beams. A final quality check by our team ensures materials are properly sorted.
Recycling involves three main types: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
- Primary Recycling: This process turns one material into more of the same material, like plastic milk bottles into more plastic milk bottles.
- Secondary Recycling: It transforms items into other products made of the same material, such as turning aluminium cans into car parts.
- Tertiary or Chemical Recycling: This method chemically breaks down materials to produce something different, like pyrolysis turning plastic into oils used in various applications.
Here at J&B Recycling, some materials are baled and sold to companies that recycle them as substitutes for virgin materials, while others, like glass, are melted to create new glass products. Check out our video:
You can contribute to the recycling process by separating and cleaning recyclable waste at home. Machines cannot identify and separate materials when they are mixed together. Avoid leaving contaminants like polystyrene inside cardboard boxes, as this makes separation difficult.
Remember that not all recycling plants accept the same types of waste. Check your local authorities' guidelines to determine what is acceptable in your recycling bin.
In summary, while the waste management system is complex, together, we can make a substantial difference in the sustainability and future of our planet. Reuse, reduce, and recycle where possible. For businesses, consider the materials and packaging you use, and strive for environmentally friendly solutions. By working together, we can protect the environment and create a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come.
J&B Recycling are based in the North of England. Our commercial collection services operate from the Scottish Borders down to Hull and North Yorkshire. Our main areas for collecting and processing commercial waste include Teesside (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton), Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Get in touch for more information and to request a quote.