Surprises down at the dump on Rougham Hill

Suffolk County Council as a waste disposal authority is leading the field in recycling hard plastics and textiles and News Editor Lesley Anslow, who is taking part in the Rubbbish Diet challenge to slim her black bin, went along to Rougham Hill to have a sneak peek insde the giant containers there.

Methane is not good news - for cows or for landfill - and in Suffolk there is a lot of hard work going into reusing much of what our throwaway society generates.

If it ends up in landfill the mix creates methane.

Some 80 per cent of what we take to the dump, tip or, to call it by its correct name, the household waste recycling centre, in Bury St Edmunds is recycled.

Rougham Hill is constantly busy and boasts a large block of enormous containers which we fill every day. In February this year we dumped a total of 492,531 tonnes of rubbish at Rougham Hill of which 341,891 tonnes was reused or recycled.

Rougham is one of 11 household waste and recycling centres in Suffolk. It is operated by Suffolk County Council through FCC Environment, its contractors, and the income from recycling is shared between the two.

There appears to be a strong emphasis on recycling locally wherever possible but some recycling is market led with the best global price having to be sought wherever that may be.

In the good old days when you took stuff down the tip somebody else might snaffle it if it was good enough but things are a bit more disciplined and controlled now.

However a lot of what we throw away can be reused and organisations like Gatehouse in Bury St Edmunds and Open Door in Newmarket and Mildenhall benefit from unwanted itens which are passed to needy families.

This also applies to small electrical goods which are sent off for repair and rigourous testing before being offered through a welfare assistance scheme being rolled out this month by the county council.

The mantra is - reduce, re-use, recycle, re-source, landfill. These sites are fascinating places to visit - just watching what people throw out is an education and often what is one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Mark Deer, the county service delivery officer for economy, skills and environment, explained that where possible Suffolk aims to keep it local but sometimes our waste must travel to fetch the best prices.

Hard plastics which have any associated metal are sent off to Snailwell were the metal is extracted and the remaining plastic sent to Worksop and converted into black pellets which in turn make plastic pipes and plant pots.

Suffolk is one of first authorities to introduce hard plastic recycling. There is zero cost here as this is part of the European Metal Recycling scheme which means that disposal authorities face £100 a tonne cost if the metal goes into landfill. Since the beginning of 2010 2,800 tonnes of the stuff has been diverted from landfill.

The garden waste is also a real local success story as it is composted in Suffolk at Red Lodge in open windrows to make soil improver and this is then spread on Elveden Estates land.

Another local success story is cooking oil. This is recycled by Living Fuels in Hockwold a company which cleverly converts your old chip fat into electricity which is fed into the grid.

Meanwhile afurther local scheme sees old unwanted bikes sent to Thetford to the Green Ventures charity where they are repaired and reused.

Sleeping bags are sent off to homeless charities while duvets and pillow, which can’t be recycled, can be used by pet charities for animal bedding

Tetra paks are bailed up, reprocessed in the UK and Europe and made into new Tetrapaks.

Textiles are bailed and much is bought by African countries.

There are Media banks at Rougham where you can drop books, DVDs, CDs and games. The books are resold in the UK. some exported overseas for education purposes and the remainder sent for pulping in the UK. Some 20 per cent of CD/DVDs and games are resold with the remainder sent to recycle in the UK.

So as the county’s catchy video take on a 50s TV ad says: ‘chop chop no excuse’ you can just ‘toodle off’ to your household waste recycling centre and join the great campaign.

More is on www.suffolkcc.gov.uk and www.greensuffolk.org You can also sign up to The Rubbish Diet at www.therubbishdiet.org.uk

Fact file:

n 25 plastic drinks bottles can become a fleece jacket

n It takes the same amount of energy to make 20 drinks cans from recycled aluminium as it does to make one from virgin aluminium.

n The county is up for an award in the 2013 Landmark awards for excellence in recycling and waste management with its Hadleigh HWRC nominated.

n Suffolk, Shropshire and Powys are all signed up to The Rrubbish Diet in a two month campaign to get more people recycling.