Recycling reward scheme

May 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Residents in Lambeth who recycle waste each week will be awarded points by the London Council that can be redeemed as vouchers for shopping and recreational activities.

The initiative has seen the London borough team up with Recyclebank, who offer rewards and loyalty schemes to the environmentally conscious. The recently launched programme is aimed at residents living on housing estates to begin with and if successful, it will be extended to the whole community within 12 months, said Lambeth Council.

The implementation of the Recyclebank scheme, in partnership with waste management provider, Veolia Environmental Services (VEP), is part of Lambeth Council’s plans to encourage its residents to recycle and reduce the amount it spends on waste. Its residents are the first in London to adopt the scheme.

According to Lambeth Council, the programme will enable 51,000 housing estate properties to start earning points for recycling waste and in return be rewarded for their efforts. Residents could save up to £75 a year to spend in restaurants or when buying clothes or books, said the Council.

VEP explained that residents will be able to let Recyclebank know that they have recycled each week by phone, on-line or by using a free iPhone application. Those who choose to join the scheme will receive 300 bonus points on registration and 10 points each week that they report their recycling.

As many as 100 local reward partners have been recruited to take part in the scheme, as well as several national partners such as Coca Cola and Marks and Spencer.

Sue Igoe, UK managing director of Recyclebank said that Lambeth was the first borough to introduce the “new community solution” and that the scheme had been developed to “tackle the challenging issues of recycling in flats head on”.

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Tesco bans council recycling bins in its car parks

May 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Supermarket giant Tesco is forcing councils around the UK to remove their recycling bins from their car parks by June of this year. The company wants to install and profit from its own recycling facilities (installed by contractor DS Smith). There will be no visible difference for consumers at first: they will have access to Tesco’s high tech recycling bins that scan items one by one and “decide” if they are suitable for recycling. These bins can receive plastic, cans and glass, but not paper.

Tesco’s decision has angered city councils as it entails losing a large amount of revenue, somewhere between £50,000 and £80,000 per year according to the Daily Mail. Indeed, in some local authorities, Tesco’s council bins have made up to 25% of recycling points.

Councils use reprocessors that convert most of the waste into reusable and sellable materials. For example, recycled paper can be used by the newspaper industry, glass can be reground into sand and plastic transformed into plastic bags. Councils have been motivated by the growing demand for recycled materials, especially paper.

Income from recycled goods is used by councils to maintain smaller recycling points, as well as to recoup sorting, processing and haulage costs. Unfortunately, Tesco’s decision may mean that ultimately shoppers lose out on some of their council services. What’s more, councils can be fined if they don’t meet recycling targets set out by the government.

The supermarket chain claims that it will invest in community projects to make up for the loss suffered by local authorities.

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Biofuel crops being grown on landfill sites

May 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The rising demand for biofuel has led the WRG (Waste Recycling Group) to come up with a novel way to produce its own. The group has just announced that it will be planting biofuel crops on land that was formerly being used as landfill sites.

Biofuel is being suggested as one of the solutions to global warming because it is carbon neutral – the carbon it uses to grow is then used up in the fuel, so no extra carbon gets released into the atmosphere.

The WRG has now begun to plant the biofuel crops on a total of 14 landfill sites across England, and it will harvest these once a year and sell them to Drax Power Station in Selby where they will be converted into biomass fuel.

The group carried out a test project on three hectares of land at Breighton landfill site which is located in Yorkshire. The success of this test project has led it to expand the project to 100 hectares on numerous sites.

It will be growing a combination of SRC (short rotation coppice) and miscanthus grass on the old landfill sites. It will take three years before they can first be harvested, but after that the crops will produce eight to 12 tonnes per hectare each year.

Miscanthus grass is a high-yielding crop which grows very quickly even in bad quality soil. Once planted it keeps on returning each year for up to 30 years, making it ideal for growing on the old landfill sites. Funding for the project is coming from Natural England.

The senior restoration and energy crop manager at WRT, Mark Pailing, called the project an “exciting development”.

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