Tag Archives: recycling

The new bins cost; £475,916.20

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the large bin versus the small bin

For a week or more, the text spacing on this post has been mangled, making the reading of it pretty difficult!

I have asked for help with this, because when it was published, it was fine!  The problem occurred when I went back to update it, and add the last email from Mr Roberts, of Neath Port Talbot CBC.

If you would like to see what the problem was/is you can read all about it HERE.

I am now attempting to ‘repair the site’, and hope it will read properly when I update it! (26 March)

 

This is a follow up to my post of 3 February,

about the recycling policy of my local council, which was prompted by “THE BIG BIN SWAP” when they came and swopped our large bins for small ones – with the stated aim of encouraging recycling.

It was also a measure put in place to try to avoid the fines Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC) is paying for using LANDFILL.

I posed a number of questions and thought you might like to know the answers.   Its taken a while, but I have now heard back from NPTCBC – to make sense of this email exchange – have a look at the original post by clicking HERE.

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MY SECOND EMAILlarge bin

Sent: 24 February 2015 08:10

To: Chief Execs

Subject: THE BIG BIN SWAP

Dear Sir

On 3 February I emailed both the media department and my local Councillor, to ask them to read the blog below, and reply with some answers to the questions I posed.

https://julzcrafts.com/2015/02/03/a-slice-of-life-the-big-bin-swap-recycling-in-the-swansea-valley-wales/

To date I have had no answer from either of them.

If you’d like to look at the comments section below the body of the text, you will see that there is great interest around the world about recycling, and many people are interested to know what Neath Port Talbot CBC are doing about it – specifically

  1. How much did the new bins cost?
  2. What did you do with the bins you removed?
  3. How have you funded this scheme?
  4. Is there another reason you have limited the size of the bins – ie:  can the new trucks take larger bins?
  5. How is the waste collected recycled?  Which companies do you use to do this and do you sell it or have to pay for its disposal?

I would be grateful if you could supply this information, which will be published in a follow up blog.

I truly do not want to have to put in a Freedom of Information request, as suggested by one reader. However, if I have not heard back from you within 10 days, I think this will be my next action. many thanks for your attention.

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NPTCBC’S REPLY: 11 MARCHImage

Dear Miss Barnett,

Firstly, apologies that no one has contacted you with an explanation with regard to the questions you posed. With reference to your e-mail of the 24/02/2015, I would inform you that;

  1. The new bins cost; £475,916.20
  2. Both the plastic body and steel axles of all the bins removed have been recycled via the Civic Amenity site in Briton Ferry.
  3. The bins were partly Welsh Government grant funded and partly Council funding from reserves.
  4. The reason for reducing the bins size is the statutory waste targets and associated fines and Welsh Government’s ‘Collections Blueprint’.  The aim is to encourage people who were not already recycling to do so and encourage those already recycling to participate further.
  5. All waste collected for recycling is taken to a purpose built transfer building at the rear of the Materials Recovery and Energy Centre at Crymlyn Burrows.  The operator of the facility, NPT Recycling Ltd., has contracts in place with reprocessors and the income is essentially netted off the cost of managing and treating the Council’s ‘black bag’ waste which is also taken to the plant.

I hope the above information is helpful.small bin Yours sincerely, Mike Roberts Head of Streetcare Environment Directorate environment@npt.gov.uk

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Before going ahead and publishing Mr Roberts reply, as a courtesy, I replied on 11 March –

MY THIRD EMAIL

 Dear Mr Roberts
 I am very relieved to receive this detailed reply from you regarding the list of questions in my email of 24 February.
You will of course have noted that I intended to publish your answer as a follow up to the original ‘blog post’ “The Big Bin Swap” dated 3 February.
Before I do, could you please confirm that you are happy for me to do so – and whether you wish your name to be published or just your title?
I was careful not to name which council I was talking about in the original blog, but in view of the details given, I think I should be able to verify that this is a genuine reply.
Re: Your Point No 4:  Is there any evidence that this strategy is working, or is it too soon to evaluate it?
Re: Your Point No 5:  Whilst the general information you gave is revealing, the real concern of everyone who recycles their waste is whether it is being    processed properly and put to good use.  Could you please provide a couple of specific examples of what is done with the various separated materials?
I am copying this email to my local councillor, with whom I spoke on Sunday, and I thank him for his help – and of course, yours.         Julie Barnett
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I also re-sent the email on 18 March, asking for a reply and telling Mr Roberts that I would be publishing this today.  As I got no reply, I think that its time to publish!  I also think that you can all draw your own conclusions, and would welcome your comments below.  
Of course, it you would also like to contact Neath Port Talbot CBC, that is up to you – smile!

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20 March 2015

I got a reply to the email above, late yesterday, most probably after someone had read this post.  As promised, I am publishing it here, and I have, of course, thanked Mr Roberts for his contribution and sent him a link to this post.
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Dear Miss Barnett.

Thank you for your further correspondence.  With respect to your additional requests for information, I can advise as follows:

I enclose details of the immediate impact of reducing bin size in the pilot area undertaken in 2013.

Overall in the County Borough, as the smaller bins have been rolled out participation across the County Borough has similarly increased from 62% in 2013 to 71% in 2014 overall, and now stands at over 80%.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Average
24% 38% 20% 37% 29.75% Baseline
40% 56% 32% 56% 46% Participation after excess bin removal and reduction to 140 litres(commencing 28th Oct 2013)

It is noted that tonnage data also suggested that many residents were using the capacity released in the larger wheeled bins through recycling to dispose of green garden waste.  With switching to smaller bins the Council’s recycling and composting figures continue to increase and we are hopeful of hitting the next statutory target in Wales of 58% a year early at the end of this current year.

With respect to examples of material destinations I can inform you of the following, as reported to the Council by Neath Port Talbot Recycling at the end of last year. 

 

Example 1:  After delivery to Crymlyn Burrows, plastics collected at the kerbside in Neath Port Talbot are bailed and transferred off-site to Carmarthenshire Environmental Resources.  From there they are sent to EcoPlastics in Lincolnshire.  EcoPlastics produce raw materials which may be used in the manufacture of plastic containers. 

 

Example 2:  After delivery to Crymlyn Burrows, food waste collected at the kerbside in Neath Port Talbot is bulked up and transferred off site to an Anaerobic Digestion Facility in Avonmouth, near Bristol.  The facility produces renewable energy and a nutrient rich fertiliser.

 

Regards,

Mike Roberts

Head of Streetcare

 

a slice of life: “the big bin swap” – recycling in the swansea valley, wales

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This is written as part of the Slice of Life shared blogging scheme, which is used American school children; I am submitting this is a possible teaching resource.  Terms that I expect you may not totally understand, are highlighted in red, and explained at the end of the blog.

TO FIND SOME OF THE ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS – PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOW UP BLOG HERE.

I came back home last Thursday to find this leaflet rolled up in my letterbox, as I pulled it out, I thought, what on earth is this?  Normally leaflets like this advertise things you really don’t need, and I throw them away before I even look at them!

the english version of The Big Bin Swap leaflet

the english version of The Big Bin Swap leaflet

As I was putting the shopping away, I glanced at it before putting it in the recycling bin.  As you will guess, it never got there, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to scan both sides, English & Welsh, in case you were wondering, and put the two scans up on this blog.

My first thought was, my neighbours weren’t going to like this!  They have 6 children, and on bin days, there is so much rubbish outside their house that you trip over it!  So even with a large bin, they can’t cope, and yes, before you ask, they do recycle too – the recycling sacks are stacked up above the bin, and tend to fall onto the pavement.

Now, before you start thinking – oh what a good idea – taking the large bins away and replacing them with smaller bins will ensure that everyone recycles their rubbish – what environmentally responsible Councils they have in Wales, let me tell you why they are doing this.

A few years ago, the EU made a new law, that fined any country that used too much landfill to bury their rubbish.  This was supposed to force everyone in Europe to recycle waste.  A good idea, in principle.  It has now become UK law and, as the Councils are responsible for collections and disposals, they are the ones that get fined, if they go over the limit they have been given.

the welsh language version of The Big Bin Swap

the welsh language version of The Big Bin Swap

“The Welsh Government has set out a requirement for all Councils in Wales to increase their recycling rate year on year, with a 58% recycling rate having to be achieved by 2016 and 64% by 2019/20. Strict fines will be imposed on local authorities if the targets are missed.”

As they are local councils, and we pay council tax, that means we, the residents, will end up paying the fine.  So, it may be a good idea, but, did we agree to them spending money on the new bins – no, we never knew about it!

Do we know what they are doing with the old bins – no idea?  Are they being sold, recycled, or just dumped in a big bin mountain! Most people generally agree that recycling is a good thing, but it has got a bit ‘over the top’. (SEE HERE)

In our Council area, we have small bins for food waste, large plastic boxes for tins and bottles, and free thin plastic sacks for paper and cardboard, which must go in separate bags, and another one for garden waste.

In the neighbouring council area, they have three differently coloured boxes, as well as plastic sacks and bins.  There are different schemes in different parts of the country.  Recycling policy is up to each Council, and so is the way they dispose of their collections.

Our Council does compost the garden waste, and they sell it on to market gardeners – altho sometimes the compost contains things that wouldn’t normally be there, because not all the waste has been sorted properly. I’m not sure what they do with the tins and bottle and paper and cardboard.  Maybe I will ask, and let you know.

But I do know that lots of our waste gets exported to ‘Third World Countries’ where young children sift through it and try to make a living out of selling what they find. Slumdog_millionaireIf you have watched the film, Slumdog Millionaire, you will know that sometimes they get sick, because they don’t even bury the waste in India or China, they just dump it somewhere, and the gases affect the people who live near it.

Is that being environmentally responsible?  Are we colluding in this abuse?

People here are liable to get fined if they do not recycle their rubbish, and there have been known to be “bin wars” where people steal others bins, because they haven’t got enough space in the large bins, let alone the new small ones.

Most people now paint their house numbers on the bins! There has also been a rise in illegal dumping, as companies now have to pay to have large amounts of waste collected.  Rogue operators, collect the rubbish for a fee, and then dump it on remote mountain tops and fields, sometimes even paying small amounts to the farmers for ‘looking the other way’.

“The Council investigates environmental crime along with partners such as the Environment Agency. If anyone is found responsible for causing crimes such as littering, dog fouling and flytipping action will be taken against them. There could be an on the spot fine of £75 or even prosecution in some cases.

Fly tipping of waste is a serious criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months (or an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if indicted to the Crown Court). Any vehicles involved in incidents of fly tipping may also be seized. We have a successful prosecution history and will prosecute all caught offenders.”  (quoted from the Council’s website)

How is this change going to affect me? A small bin is fine for my household. I recycle most of the waste in the ‘old fashioned way’. I have a compost heap in the garden, where all the food & garden waste that can’t be eaten by my chickens goes, and after a year, when the bugs have done their work, its great for the garden.

my kitchen fire

my kitchen fire

In the 1920‘s the owners of my stone built terraced house, dating from the 1860’s,  must have been very proud when they made a major improvement to the kitchen.  They replaced the open fire with a Chattan.

It’s a cast iron fireplace, with an oven on the side, and must have been very expensive at the time. So I recycle the paper and cardboard into heating, for the room, and, the fire also heats a tank of water connected to the back of the Chattan.  Old newspapers and unwanted leaftlets are great for starting the fire, especially if they have been soaked in the old oil from my chip pan!

For once, the Council was very efficient about The Big Bin Swap (get it?), the very next day, as we get a collection every other Friday here, they came along with three huge trucks, one to empty the rubbish, one to collect the old bins, and another one to dole out the new, smaller bins.

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Councils – the local tier of government – in Wales we have the Welsh Assembly and the UK Parliament. EU – then we have the European Union, who seem to make most of our laws these days! landfill – literally what is says – digging huge trenches in waste land – filling them with rubbish, and then covering them over with soil. rubbish – you use the word ‘trash’ in the States. council tax –  this is based on the value of your property, the more expensive it is, the more you pay as a contribution to the services the council supply.  These include waste collection, street lighting and road mending, schools, and all kinds of other services. chip pan – for frying chips or ‘french fries’

Suggested tasks: 

  1. click on both the versions of the leaflet, and see if you can work out which welsh word means thank you.
  2. write a short piece describing what you do in your house to recycle waste.
  3. how important do you think recycling is?  write a short piece about the place it has in the environmental issues facing us today.
  4. do some research and find out what measures your local state takes about recycling.
  5. start doing some recycling in your school.