Recycling – sorting fact from fiction

The council is also seeking to dispel some recycling myths by encouraging borough residents through social media to ask the experts their questions about recycling.

Before launching the campaign, more than 300 Sutton residents were interviewed to assist in understanding borough recycling behaviours.

Sutton Council is working with borough primary schools to run a series of recycling workshops that will be led and delivered by young people.

Sutton residents have been involved in the project, putting forward ideas and visiting the material recycling facility in Crayford, Kent to see first-hand how the recycling process works.

Graham Catt, a Beddington resident who went to the material recycling facility, said:

“We all need to be careful what we put into the green bin. It surprised me just how much unwanted material, such as plastic bags, had to be removed by hand, at great time and expense.”

Myth: All my recycling ends up getting thrown away with the rubbish anyway.
Not true. We know the lorries that collect your recycling and rubbish look the same but your recycling is collected in a separate lorry than the rubbish. Your recycling is taken to a Waste Transfer Site in Beddington before being placed onto large freighter trucks and delivered to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). At the MRF recycling is sorted by machines and people by material type (i.e. paper, aluminium) and then bailed. Then it is sent to reprocessors to be recycled into new products.

Myth: There is no point recycling, it doesn’t make a difference.
Recycling stops tonnes of rubbish being buried in landfill. In the UK, recycling saves about 10-15m tonnes of carbon emissions a year – the equivalent of taking 3.5m cars off the road. Recycling costs less than sending waste to landfill so it helps to reduce the costs of waste management in Sutton.

Myth: You can only recycle paper a few times.
Fibres in paper start to break down after they have been recycled five or six times, but the material can still be used to make egg cartons, packaging, loft insulation, paints and even new road surfaces.

Myth: Recycling metal uses more energy than extracting the raw material in the first place.
Recycling aluminium cans saves up to 95 per cent of the energy needed to make new cans from fresh raw material. The energy saved in not having to make just one aluminium can from scratch is enough to power a TV for three hours. Every tonne of new aluminium made creates four tonnes of waste, whereas a tonne of recycled aluminium creates no waste.

Myth: Recycled glass is worse quality than other glass.
Glass can be recycled endlessly without any loss of quality.

Recycling Top Tips

Remember to wash, squash and take the lids off your plastic bottles before you recycle them.
Keep a container for recycling right next to the bin at home, so recycling becomes an easy option.
Buy goods made from recycled materials – this is great for the environment and for encouraging people to recycle more.

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