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Where Does Our Waste Go?

Where do the contents of our bins end up? Tom Heap lifts the lid on the recycling industry to find out what happens to our waste beyond the kerbside collection. What does ‘recycling’ mean? Are bottles and tins and plastic packaging recycled when they’re collected from our homes? They might well be taken to the local MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) and separated out into different waste streams, but what happens then? Embarking on a road journey along the recycling chain, Tom Heap tracks his own domestic recycling refuse to find out how much – or how little – of it is actually recycled. Tom is accompanied on this road trip by waste expert Dr Karl Williams of the University of Central Lancashire’s Centre for Waste Management, during which he devises what we’re calling Karl’s Top Ten Recycling Tips. 1 It’s not waste you’re throwing away, it’s a resource. 2 Recycling starts at home. 3 Read your local authority’s recycling guide or visit their website as to what they collect, and do as it says. 4 Sort your recycling at source which is at your home. 5 If in doubt, put it in the residual bin or black bag, don’t put it in with the recycling! 6 Where you can, separate different materials, (eg: take cardboard wrapping off plastic cartons, plastic film from paper). 7 Don’t put your recycling in bags in the bin. 8 Household waste recycling centres will take those recyclables not collected at the kerbside by your council. 9 Where possible, separate glass from paper. 10 Remember you are giving materials the chance of a second life as something else. Producer: Mark Smalley.

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