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You’d be Surprised What People Throw Away - re3’s Bag Splitting Initiative Unearths Treasures for Charity and Diverts Waste from Landfill

26 Jul 2017 15:30

A bag splitting initiative at re3’s Bracknell and Reading recycling centres is raising funds for Sue Ryder and ensuring more waste is being recycled and reused.

 

Under the scheme, waste that is left at re3 centres in bin bags is separated into recyclable and non-recyclable items by staff who check every bag.

 

Recycling centre staff have opened and processed 809.5 tonnes of bin bags since the scheme started in August 2016. Of this, approximately 36% has been recyclable or reusable content – items that can be reused or remanufactured into new products - and 4% has been recoverable content, which includes energy from waste*. So far, the bin bag splitting initiative has diverted 326 tonnes of waste away from landfill - comparable to the weight of over 320 average-sized cars - and has made savings of over £28 000 in waste disposal costs. 

 

When visiting a re3 recycling centre, residents are asked to separate and deposit their waste in the appropriate area to help ensure that as much as possible is sent on for recycling and reuse.  However, any waste that is brought to the recycling centres in bin bags is also divided out to extract recyclable items. This is done in a designated area during quieter times of the day, meaning that staff are still available to assist those residents who may require help or advice.

 

All waste brought to the re3 recycling centres remains anonymous and no bagged household waste deposited by re3 residents is rejected.

 

Recent items found in bin bags have included records, which are very collectable now that vinyl is making a comeback; a ‘Links’ silver photo frame in its original box; and a set of perfect condition glass bowls.

 

Staff have been surprised by some of the unused items that they’ve found while bag splitting, including costume jewellery, a brass letterbox and an inflatable dinghy, all in their original packaging. They also find everyday waste like paper and card, glass and textiles that can either be recycled through kerbside bins and boxes, or at bring banks and the recycling centres.

 

re3 donates all good quality items found in bin bags, as well as larger items like furniture and bikes, to Sue Ryder to help fundraise for local hospice care.

 

Bracknell Forest’s Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE said: “I’m very pleased with how the bin bag splitting initiative has diverted over 320 tonnes of recyclable items away from landfill. Not only are we protecting the environment when we recycle more, we are saving council tax payers’ money as it is around £87 cheaper to recycle a tonne of waste than it is to landfill it.” 

 

Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighourhoods, Cllr Liz Terry said: “The team have had some incredible finds while bag splitting, but we musn’t forget the everyday items that can be recycled rather than just thrown away. Paper and cardboard, tins and cans, aerosols and plastic bottles can be recycled from home; glass is collected from over 500 bring bank sites in the re3 area; and items like textiles, small electrical appliances and paint are accepted at the Bracknell and Reading recycling centres.”

 

Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment Cllr Norman Jorgensen said: “Our popular and well-used recycling centres take a wide range of items, and this initiative is ensuring that we are making the most from what residents bring to us and diverting as much of it as we can away from landfill. Staff are very happy to talk through how they are separating the waste if residents want to know about the scheme and how to recycle more and better.”

 

For more information on re3, please visit http://www.re3.org.uk or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube @re3recycling

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