THREE hundred extra tonnes of waste was recycled by Mendip residents in the first five weeks of Recycle More, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has revealed.
The huge effort includes a 23 per cent 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 meeting of the Joint Scrutiny Panel of the Somerset Waste Board on Wednesday (November 2).
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 per cent going abroad.
SWP introduced Recycle More to around 53,000 homes in Mendip at the end of October.
The scheme 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.
In the five weeks of Recycle More compared to the five weeks before it, recycling crews in Mendip collected:
- 302 extra tonnes of recycling in total – up 11 per cent
- 41 extra tonnes of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays – up 23 per cent
- 105 extra tonnes of cardboard – up 19 per cent
- 141 extra tonnes of food waste – up 15 per cent
- 6.4 tonnes of small electrical items – never collected before
- 1.7 tonnes of batteries – never collected before
SWP said it’s still too early to see long-term trends but the amount of rubbish collected in Mendip has fallen by around 20 per cent over the same five week period.
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.”
The panel was also given an update on the levels of plastic collected for recycling that is sent abroad for re-processing.
SWP has committed to re-process recycling in the UK wherever possible a part of it’s contract with SUEZ, which took on collections at the end of March.
Between April and September this year, only 1 per cent of the 69,000 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 per cent over the same period last year.
Mendip is the only part of Somerset which has started Recycle More this year. 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 but SWP said 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.”
Extra recycling is being collected every week and rubbish bins and sacks are now being collected every three weeks instead of every two in Mendip.
To help people in Mendip keep up with the new collections every household 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 online by visiting www.somersetwaste.gov.uk home page and entering your postcode and address into the ‘My Collection Day’ feature.
For information about Recycle More visit somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycle-more