Let's face it - burying waste in landfills is pretty rubbish, a waste of money, a waste of valuable resources and has a damaging effect on our environment. For the past few decades that's what we've been doing with the household rubbish we can't recycle, but this is going to change.
The South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership, made up of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils, is working together to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill sites every year and dramatically increase recycling.
We all know we can't continue to only send rubbish to landfill and have set some ambitious targets for increasing recycling across the three councils:
- We currently recycle around 35% of our rubbish.
- By 2015 we need to recycle 45% and increase this to 50% by 2020.
- Even when we recycle 50% there is still around around 165,000 tonnes of household rubbish to be dealt with.
All households can now recycle a wider range of materials from home including plastic bottles and cardboard, as well as paper, glass bottles/jars and cans.
We are also looking at ways to improve the household waste and recycling centres and we have already made improvements to bring recycling sites across the borough. As well as this we are looking to expand the range of materials collected in recycling bins.
What will we do with rubbish we can't recycle?
From 2014 we will no longer be sending your non-recycled rubbish to landfill. We are currently building an Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility on Teesside. Our non-recycled rubbish will be taken there to be treated. The facility uses a high-tech burning process to convert the waste into electricity which will be sold to the National Grid.