AS THE first collection under the new recycling trials implemented by Angus Council got under way this week, we have learned that the material collected is sent by container lorry to Wales.
This fact has amazed the chairman of the Royal Burgh of Arbroath Community Council, Mike Cosans.
He commented: “This was revealed to us at the last community council meeting in August when council representatives explained the pilot programme.
“It seems crazy to me in the present ecologically sensitive times and must be a journey of about 350 miles. But the council representative said that it was better than the alternative of sending it to China.
“We were told that it is the most eco friendly option, but one must wonder if that is the case.”
Pauline Hinchion, co-convener of the Dundee Green Party, commented: “The contents of the grey bin are paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, etc., all of which can be recycled.
“Ideally the best environmental option is always to recycle these as close to the source of waste as possible i.e. in Tayside or Scotland. In this case the material is being transported to a recycling site in Wales and this will result in additional carbon emissions.
“However the recycling is going to a place where the paper and cardboard is made into new paper products onsite and as it is not getting shipped to China this will offset some of the carbon generated during the transportation of the recycling from Angus to Wales.” She concluded: “Using recycled paper/cardboard to make new products means we are not cutting down virgin trees to make them and that is very best solution for the environment and for consumers.”
A council spokesperson commented: “The majority of processing facilities are currently located down south, so, as previously, the recyclables from Angus are sent by container lorry to a processing plant in north Wales.
“Once the plastic, glass and other materials are recovered, they are all sent for reprocessing within the UK at present.”
The council’s convener of neighbourhood services, Councillor Donald Morrison, has thanked householders for their co-operation as the first collections under the new recycling trials began this week in areas of Arbroath, Carnoustie and nearby rural villages.
He said: “The collections have worked well this week and we have already collected a large amount of recyclables and food waste that would have previously been sent to landfill. I’m grateful to the residents in the trial areas for getting on board with this initiative.
“We have, understandably, had a few queries this week as householders adjust to the new system, but I’m gratified at the range of positive comments we are receiving.”
He added: “At present, we receive a payment from our reprocessing contractor and pay no haulage costs to have our recyclables taken away for processing. In contrast, the council pays the government £64 tax for every tonne which we put into landfill and this landfill tax rises every year- next year, we will pay £72 per tonne.
“It is crucial that we reduce the amount going to landfill, for financial and environmental reasons. We continue to look at other ways of reducing waste going to landfill.”
One of the changes which residents are noting is that the recyclables which are now collected from the grey bin all go into one bin lorry. Previously, flat bed lorries with compartments for each material were used to collect glass, paper, plastic and cans. Now, these items, plus others, are separated out at the processing plant by sophisticated equipment which can identify and deal with small particles, such as pieces of glass.