Bin lorries are very clever: All is not as it may appear

May I respond to the letter from a Wingerworth resident carried in the Derbyshire Times last week – ‘Are the bin men recycling?’ (24 January 2013).

Firstly, thank you for raising the issue as we want to make sure people know that their recycling efforts are not wasted.

It is in fact quite a complicated process, but without going into too much detail I hope I can help explain what happens:

Your recycling is collected by a special type of vehicle which looks similar to a normal refuse truck, but has two compartments – one for paper, and one for the mixed materials, including glass, plastic and tins.

It may look as if it is all being emptied into the same part of the truck, but in the majority of cases it is separated into the two compartments.

Uur collection teams empty the contents of the paper caddy into a separate bin (mounted on the vehicle lifting equipment) which is emptied into a small compartment, and the burgundy bin is then placed on another part of the lifting equipment and emptied in to the vehicle’s main refuse collection compartment.

We ask residents to keep paper separate in their burgundy bin to make sure as much of it can be recycled – and as efficiently - as possible.

Paper gets easily contaminated by other waste which can make it more difficult to recycle, so this is the most effective method.

On occasion, residents may see paper caddies emptied to the main compartment if the paper has been contaminated by other waste.

For example, it is not uncommon for staff to find card packaging / brown envelopes etc mixed with paper.

This does not mean it goes to waste – it is separated at the Mechanical Recycling Facilities (MRFs) where we deliver our material.

The team also uses another smaller vehicle to carry out collections in rural areas.

Material is loaded into a single compartment in these vehicles, which is then separated at the MRF.

This truck may be spotted out and about on mainstream rounds every now and then, efor example, to cover break downs.

I hope this goes some way to explain what happens, and to reassure you that your recycling efforts are not wasted.

If you would like more information, please get in touch with us on (01246) 217610.

Cllr Nick Foster

North East Derbyshire District Council’s Member with responsibility for the Environment