WHAT CAN I DO? rethink rubbish s mall ac t ions, bi g c han ges THE FACTS WHAT A WASTE ast year the average L East Sussex household threw away over a tonne of rubbish. And this amount is growing by around 2% every year. At the moment most of this Every 90 minutes we produce enough rubbish is buried in local landfill sites. to fill your local swimming pool. But we can’t go on throwing away ever-increasing amounts of rubbish like this. It costs us money, is a waste of resources and damages our environment. And we’re running out of landfill space. European law is setting us targets to reduce the amount of rubbish we bury in landfill sites. If we fail to reach these targets the country will be fined. We will all have to pay for this through increases in our Council Tax. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to start reducing, reusing and recycling our rubbish to cut down the rubbish mountain. By taking small actions right now we can, together, make big changes to ensure a brighter future. “ We’re wasting our world and if we don’t start recycling we’re not going to have all the things we have now. You don’t have to recycle absolutely everything, but at least “ try and recycle something. I wish I could do more. Katherine, Ringmer 2 ALL AROUND THE WORLD The growing mountain of rubbish is a worldwide problem and the UK is not alone in trying to solve it. We will always need landfill, as it is the only method suitable for nearly all types of rubbish. But other countries recycle more than we do and use other methods, in particular incineration, to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. We too can, and must, reduce the amount we bury in landfill sites. “ “ I don’t feel recycling is an effort at all, I’ve always done it. I just hate to see all this rubbish going to the tips. Pauline, Brighton Who does what with household rubbish around the world 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Canada Germany Netherlands Switzerland UK USA Source: CERNO, 2002’ Landfill Recycling Energy from Waste (eg incineration) 3 WE CAN MANAGE RUBBISH There are a number of ways of dealing with rubbish and cutting down the amount we throw away. The first and best option is not to create the rubbish in the first place. After that, as much as possible of the rubbish we still produce should be reused, recycled and composted. But there is a limit to what can be reused, recycled or composted. Some of the PREFERRED remaining rubbish can be used to generate DISPOSAL OPTION energy, for example by burning it in an REDUCTION Energy from Waste Plant. Anything left over will still have to be buried in landfill sites. REUSE RECYCLING If you reduce RECOVERY “ Composting and Energy from Waste (EfW) rubbish in the LANDFILL first place then LEAST you won’t have to PREFERRED DISPOSAL OPTION worry. If you reuse it then you won’t have to recycle it “ and then if all else fails you recycle it. You just have to prioritise. John, Hailsham 4 WHO DOES WHAT WITH RUBBISH? Borough and District Councils are responsible for collecting household rubbish and providing recycling schemes, such as kerbside collections. Unitary Councils, such as Brighton & Hove, are responsible for rubbish collection, recycling management, disposal and planning. County Councils, such as East Sussex, are responsible for managing and disposing of household rubbish including the management of Household Waste Recycling Sites and preparing Waste Local Plans. They are not responsible for collecting rubbish. The Environment Agency makes sure rubbish is managed in a way that is safe, and protects our health and the environment. The UK Government sets targets for recycling, waste reduction and composting. The European Union sets targets to reduce rubbish going to landfill sites. 5 RECYCLING REVEALED he process of T recycling isn’t complete until what you put in your local recycling centre, bring bank or kerbside box is made into a new product and bought again. This is sometimes called ‘closing the loop’. There is now a huge selection of high quality products made from recycled materials – everything from writing paper, to fleeces and kitchen worktops. By buying recycled goods we help cut down the growing rubbish mountain. I get through a lot of notepads but I’ll “ always buy recycled – they’re “ cheaper than normal anyway – and when I’ve finished with them I put them in the recycling bin. Ian, Uckfield DID YOU KNOW? Most cans, bottles and newspapers made in the UK contain some recycled material. 6 READ ALL ABOUT IT On average, about a quarter of the rubbish we put in our bins is paper. Recycling paper is good for the environment in many ways. Not only does this use less energy and water than making paper from scratch, it also produces less rubbish. The collected paper is taken to a recycling mill where it is passed through a pulping machine to remove things that can’t be recycled, like staples. Once it has been de-inked and the glues removed, it is flattened by big rollers and dried. Finally, it’s made into long rolls and then into new paper products. Most of the paper collected for recycling from residents in East Sussex is made into recycled newsprint. FANTASTIC PLASTIC We use plastic for all sorts of things, from washing up bowls to contact lenses. It’s hard to imagine life without plastics and yet they have only been around for about 50 years. When you recycle your plastic bottles they are first delivered to local Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs), where the different types of plastics are sorted. The sorted plastics are taken to a factory to be melted and then moulded into new products. Some plastics are recycled into goods such as fleeces, scissor handles, garden furniture and duvets. More and more recycling sites in East Sussex accept plastic bottles including some kerbside collection schemes. 7 IT CAN BE DONE The drinks cans and food tins you collect for recycling are taken to local Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs). Here they are sorted into steel and aluminium, crushed and baled. The aluminium cans are taken to a factory and melted into new sheets, which are then made into new cans. The steel cans are taken to a different factory, where they are melted down to be made into a variety of products, including mountain bikes and fridges, as well as new steel cans. DID YOU KNOW? If all the aluminium cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 12 million fewer dustbins of rubbish every year. 8 GO GREEN About a third of the rubbish in most people’s bins is from the kitchen and garden. You can compost most of this in your garden. Composting is the oldest and most natural form of recycling. Kitchen scraps and green garden rubbish decompose naturally with the help of worms and harmless bacteria. Household Waste Recycling Sites in East Sussex can take a range of green garden rubbish, including stuff you can’t compost at home, such as large branches. It’s then taken to various sites around East Sussex, placed into long piles called windrows and turned regularly. After a few months, the mixture is sieved to sort out the fine compost. The remaining larger material goes through the composting process again. Some of the compost from the Household Waste Sites in East Sussex is used by farmers to put the goodness back into their land and some is used on landfill sites to help turn them back into fields. “ The problem with composting is the prunings. “ Woody stuff does not like rotting down so things like that which we can’t do anything with, we take them to the tip. John, Hailsham 9 GLASS THAT LASTS About a third of glass is currently recycled in the UK, with the rest mostly ending up in landfill sites. Bottles and jars are collected from bottle banks or kerbside collection schemes and taken to glass recycling plants, where they're crushed into small pieces, called cullet. Any unwanted materials, such as paper labels and metal lids, are then removed. The cullet is fed into a furnace to melt the glass, which is used to make new bottles and jars. These are checked DID YOU KNOW? for quality, filled and Glass can be recycled indefinitely sent to the shops… without loss of quality. for us to buy again. 10 AFTER RECYCLING WHAT’S LEFT Reducing, reusing and recycling should take priority in the way we deal with rubbish but they don’t solve the rubbish problem completely. Some of the things we throw away, like toothpaste tubes and pet litter, just aren’t suitable for reusing or recycling. Other ways of dealing with what’s left will always be needed. The most commonly used options elsewhere in the world are burying the rubbish in landfill sites or burning it in Energy from Waste Plants to reduce its volume and recover the energy generated. “ “ Even with all the recycling I do, I put out three bags a week. Janice, Brighton DID YOU KNOW? Recycling rubbish does not always make environmental sense: recycling is a complex process that involves transporting, sorting and making rubbish into new products – this process pollutes the environment. So recycling only makes environmental sense when this pollution is less than getting rid of rubbish in other ways, such as burying it in landfill sites or burning it to generate energy. 11 BURY IT Most of our rubbish in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove is buried in local landfill sites, which will soon be full. New laws are making landfill more expensive, to encourage us to reduce, reuse and recycle more. As with all options for managing our rubbish, landfill sites can have environmental impacts. The main impacts are gases given off by the rotting rubbish, which contribute to global warming, and polluted water. However, landfill is currently the only single option that is suitable for disposing of nearly all types of rubbish. “ I hear that the landfill sites are filling up “ and it’s scary to think it’s not going to stop. When my daughter’s older where’s it all going to go? Marianne, Brighton 12 GET ENERGISED We can reduce the amount of non-recycled rubbish that ends up in landfill sites by using some of it to generate energy. This is known as Energy from Waste (EfW). It allows us to get value from the rubbish that’s left, to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that we need to generate energy and to reduce the volume of rubbish that ends up in landfill. There are several ways to generate energy from rubbish. Methods include: s incinerating rubbish. s rotting down biodegradable rubbish, a process known as anaerobic digestion, to produce a gas which can be used as fuel. s turning the rubbish into fuel pellets, which are then used in special burners to generate heat. s new technologies, such as gasification and pyrolysis, where rubbish is crushed and burned. All these processes produce residues, like ash, that need to be disposed of in landfill sites. Some of these methods, in particular Energy from Waste Plants, are popular in countries with high recycling rates, such as Switzerland. 13 WEIGHING UP THE OPTIONS All methods of disposing of our rubbish, including recycling, are expensive, have an impact on the environment and have some health risks. It is very difficult to compare different disposal methods, because they have different impacts and because there has not yet been enough research to compare them. However, some of the costs and benefits of the main options include: Landfill sites – these release gases that contribute to global warming, and can pollute rivers or groundwater. But landfill is currently the only option that is suitable for disposing of nearly all types of rubbish. Energy from Waste plants – these produce ash and release some air pollution. However, many scientists believe that the effects of this are insignificant compared with smoking, bonfires, barbecues or using your car. How do we choose? Deciding which disposal methods to use and where facilities should go is a long and complicated process. Decisions are made after consulting a number of organisations and individuals, including local residents. But remember: the more we reduce, reuse and recycle our rubbish the fewer facilities, like Energy from Waste Plants, we’ll need to deal with what’s left. 14 WHAT CAN I DO? s Reducing, reusing and recycling our rubbish can help cut the amount we end up throwing in the bin by over half. s Use fewer shopping bags - take your own bags with you. s Shop smart - when buying anything from fridges to clothing - chose items that are going to last a long time and so save you money. s Stop junk mail - phone the Mailing Preference Service on 0845 703 4599. s Composting - it’s simple, saves you money on compost and is excellent for the garden. s Avoid the bin - donate things like unwanted clothes and CDs to charity shops. s Recycle paper - use your kerbside collection scheme or bring banks to reduce what ends up in the bin. s We can help you to rethink your rubbish at home, at work or at school. Contact the Rethink Rubbish Team on 01273 482323 or firstname.lastname@example.org 15 BOOK THE RETHINK RUBBISH BUS Bus Dimensions Length 8.25m (27ft) Height 3.5m (11ft 6”) Width min 2.5m (8ft 2”) max 5m (16ft 5”) The Bus is available for open days and events. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s fully staffed. Our specialist staff can also offer free talks and run workshops. The Bus exhibition has been designed by Science Museum Solutions, with content by East Sussex County Council. The Bus is packed with ideas, games and special offers to help everyone to cut the amount of rubbish we throw away. To book the Rethink Rubbish Bus or to find out more please contact us: ✆ 01273 482323 email@example.com Or check out our website: www www.eastsussexcc.gov.uk/environment/rubbishandrecycling Printed on 100 per cent post consumer recycled paper.