Carpet recycling could be given a boost

February 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

The UK’s carpet recycling industry may be in its infancy but Manchester based firm, Axion Consulting, is hoping to boost its growth by carrying out trials to produce plastic polymer suitable for reuse from polypropylene carpets.

Almost two thirds of carpets in the UK include polypropylene so if these trials are successful they could result in a ground-breaking move to increase the UK carpet recycling rate from the current paltry 2%. Over 500,000 tonnes of carpet waste is generated each year with the vast majority of it being incinerated or sent to landfill.

The trials were started by the London based trade association, Carpet Recycling UK, which seems cautiously optimistic about the results so far.

Axion has said that the plastic extracted from recycled polypropylene carpets is suitable for injection moulded projects such as paint pots, compost bins and dustbins. Carpet Recycling UK has, however, pointed out that further research and long-term trials would need to be carried out to see whether it is commercially viable and further funding is required to do this.

Another potential problem arises from the fact that the plastic can only be extracted from pure PP (polypropylene) carpets and not from those made from a mixture of materials.

The Axion trial was funded by Envirolink Northwest and their spokesman, Dave West, hopes that not only will the increase in carpet recycling be good for the environment, helping to meet the government targets, but will also benefit the north-west in terms of building a low carbon economy with the attendant advantage of creating and sustaining jobs.

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TV recycling plant to create jobs in Salford

February 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

The recycling company Nulife Glass has announced that it will be opening its first industrial plant in Irlam, Salford, in February. It has confirmed that this will lead to the creation of 30 new jobs. The plant will recycle glass from old television sets, where the lead will be extracted from the glass to be used again.

The plant will use new techniques that the company has developed itself over many years. The technique is the first of its kind in the world, according to the company, and it has already generated interest from international firms keen to use the technology for their own systems.

Flat-screen TVs are much more popular now, which means many people are throwing out their old TV sets. This creates a huge problem in the safe disposal of the old televisions, because if they are sent to landfill then the lead can seep into the earth and lead to environmental problems.

According to Nulife Glass, 14 years have gone into research on the new technique, which is emission free and leads to the production of clean glass and reusable lead. The new plant will have the capability to recycle 2,000 TV screens a day. However, the project will only have a short lifespan because within 10 years the popularity of flat-screen TVs will mean that the supplies will dry up.

There will be numerous types of job roles created, including electricians, office staff and people to take the TVs apart. The company has announced that its head office will also move from the West Midlands to the new location.

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Battery recycling units introduced across country

February 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

New battery recycling bins are currently being introduced across the country to increase the UK’s woeful battery recycling rate. Any shops that sell batteries will now be responsible for providing collection points so that customers will have an easy way in which to recycle them.

30,000 tonnes of batteries are sold in the UK annually, with the average household using 21 a year. But of this figure, only a tiny 3% are recycled. 600 million end up being sent to landfill, where they can leak into the ground and cause environmental problems.

The new European Batteries Directive has been launched with the aim of increasing battery recycling levels to 10% by the end of year. By 2012 the target is 25% of all batteries, and by 2016 it is 45%. This would represent a massive improvement, but failing to meet the target could lead to a hefty fine for the government.

Battery manufacturers will be responsible for the costs involved in the collection and recycling of the batteries, which will cost an estimated £3 million a year. This has led to fears that the price of batteries will be forced to rise as a result.

Some shopkeepers are also frustrated over the new responsibilities that have been thrust upon them. Any shopkeepers selling over 1,400 AA batteries a year have to log the number of batteries they receive and sign up to the hazardous waste register, which is extra work that some do not appreciate.

The Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, said that the new legislation “will make it easier for consumers to do the right thing whilst ensuring retailers fulfil their part of the bargain”.

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Food waste could be banned

February 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

MPs have demanded that the government gets tough on landfill waste. They have called for much firmer targets in the near future for greater food waste recycling across the country, both in households and in the much larger commercial sector.

Household waste accounts for 9% of total waste every year, equal to 330 million tonnes, according to a report from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The report says that the government needs to replace the “vague plans and rhetoric” that are currently in place with firm plans if we are to avoid further problems.

The startling figures from the report state that a third of all the food that we buy is eventually thrown away, equal to about 6.7 million tonnes a year. This in itself is responsible for releasing more carbon dioxide into the air than four million cars. It is now a matter of urgency that institutions, including hospitals and schools, are encouraged to compost more of their food waste to help solve the problem.

In those properties such as apartments and high-rise flats where composting is not immediately available, food waste should be collected separately from other waste and then sent to be composted or used for energy.

The committee has now said that the government should set a target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2015, and 60% by 2020, with food waste itself being banned from being sent to landfill sites.

The chairman of the committee, MP Michael Jack, said that Defra “must encourage companies to take a completely new view of waste and see it as a valuable source of raw material."

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Support Your School recycling scheme

February 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

This January 2010 a new scheme is launched that provides schools in the UK with the opportunity to fundraise and meet government sustainability targets.

Support Your School is a free service set up specifically to help schools recycle used inkjet printer cartridges and unwanted mobile phones. Support Your School rewards schools with £1 for every printer cartridge and £3 for every mobile phone successfully recycled and reused.

The scheme is supported with an interactive website where a range of promotional materials such as; posters, letters and activity sheets that can be downloaded. These have been created to support teachers and make participation and implementation of the scheme as easy as possible.

The website also includes a full list of items that are suitable for recycling and details of how much the school has raised.

Schools sign up online and order their free recycling pack containing everything they need to recycle for a year. It’s not only the schools who can get involved in the scheme however, as parents and businesses are encouraged to also sign up online. They will also receive a free recycling pack enabling them to recycle inkjet cartridges and mobile phones from their workplace and raise funds on any registered schools behalf.

To sign up or find out more visit the website, email or alternatively you can call free-phone 0800 849 1225.

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