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Where has all my recycling gone?


18 October 2019

LRA Cllrs Chris Pond and David Wixley recently had a trip round the plant at Angel Road Edmonton where all your kerbside dry recycling is taken.

This is a most impressive and huge depot with much state of the art machinery as well as hand pickers so as to produce very high standard materials for resale and thus reuse.

The plant operates 24 hours a day throughout the year except for closing on Christmas and Boxing Days, and employs 350 staff in total with 120 working during our visit. Staff work 10 hour shifts 4 days of days and 4 of nights then have 4 days off.

Most in demand are aluminium cans and containers, steel tins, newspapers, clean paper of a reasonable size (A5 or bigger). Cardboard is plentiful with the growth of online ordering and the relative demise of the High Street. The different types of plastic are sorted by state of the art technology but can be sold advantageously; plastic film has no market at present (as wasn't the case a year or so back).

A few tips:

By the way, residual waste in your black bin is taken to Harlow and compressed and then transferred to the County Council mega-plant at Basildon, where approximately 10% more recyclable material is extracted.  The rest is destined to form aggregates or, after composting, RDF. In normal times, none of the waste collected by the District Council will go to landfill.

The emphasis is now on the quality of the recycled material and not the quantity, now that China and other countries are no longer accepting waste from the West.

The District Council's website also has useful guidance on what goes in each bin and in your recycling sack.