Where does our waste go?

Since we decided to start this challenge a question that has been playing on my mind, is “where does our waste go anyway?”

Well, today my questions were answered. Ceredigion County Council had a stall at Party in the Parc today in Penparcau, and they explained to me exactly where all of our waste and recycling ends up.

Here in Ceredigion we have 3 rubbish collections:

  1. Food waste
  2. Recycling (tins, plastics, cardboard, paper and tetra)
  3. General household ‘black bag’ waste

All of these items head in different directions.

Firstly, food waste.This gets collected and stored locally. As it rots down, it releases methane, which is collected and used as fuel.

Our black bag waste actually has a similar end. All the items that cannot be recycled gets shipped all the way to Sweden. Once it arrives there, it’s actually incinerated, and used as a fuel source, giving power to hundreds of Sweds.

Our recycling takes more work though. First it is taken down to Cwm, near Carmarthen, where its separated into its different types, and the ‘non recyclable’ items are removed (to go with the rest of the waste to Swedan).

Aluminium cans are cleaned, crushed into big blocks, and sold to a local smelter.

Newspapers, cardboard and (surprising) tetra cartons are washed and pulped. Then any ‘plastic bits’ are removed. This pulp is then squeezed into big bricks and dried out. It then gets sent to be recycled into other paper products, such as newspapers or toilet roll.

Plastics are a bit different. As o mentioned in my previous blog, they are hard to recycle. They council guys were pretty vague on what actually happened to our plastics, as it was all sold to the highest bidder. Almost all of it gets sent abroad to be processed and turned into new plastic items.

Apparently 84% of the stuff we put into our recycling collection bags here in Ceredigion actually gets recycled. Which is good to know really.
Also, Eleri got to sit in a police car. So she was happy too.

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