Club Meeting

Thu, Mar 24th 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

"Talking Rubbish" - Lesley Taylor


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24th March 2022 “Talking Rubbish” – Lesley Taylor

Lesley began by explaining that she is so pleased to get paid to “Talk Rubbish”. She informed us that she works for Veolia, the environmental company which operates in: waste; energy; transport and water, starting in France in the late 1800s. Veolia handles all the waste for Nottinghamshire County Council (Nottingham City Council look after themselves). They process all the household recycling at Forest Town with their Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), handling 85000 tons per annum, using a mixed recycling system. They started their contract with NCC in 2009 and one of the greatest challenges is contamination (the wrong items or materials being put in household recycling bins). The current contamination level is between 10 and 20% of the input. The waste arrives and is placed in big piles, which no recycler would be interested in but they have some high tech machines as well as amazing staff that sort it all out. The separated materials are then sent on to recyclers all over the country to be turned into new goods. She gave a few examples of ‘contamination’, like a rolled up carpet, but getting the right materials to your recycle bin (note no mention of colour as every District Council has its own) is not easy and in general they come under the headings of: metal, plastic, paper and cardboard. So as an exercise in audience participation Lesley had prepared a quiz for us with 40 items listed that individually we had to decide Recycle or General waste. This really was an interesting exercise, as most of our members (like Lesley’s husband)believed they were doing a sterling recycling job…but the answers proved differently. Plastic is the most confusing material, so objects like fruit punnets which can be made from good or low grade plastic together with carrier bags, bin liners, crisp packets, bubble wrap and similar items which are all made of low grade plastic are not accepted for recycling. The government is currently working for consistency of recycling across the whole country which hopefully will be implemented within the next few years. She suggested a simple 3 part guide to recyclable plastic in Nottinghamshire: 1. All household plastic bottles (shampoo to Domestos) 2. Butter or margarine tubs 3. Yoghurt pots. However, some Supermarkets offer specific ‘collection points’ for various items: bottles, tetra packs, clothes and Lesley encouraged us all to use such centres. Lesley then showed a short video of their MRF operation, showing the staff at work, the trommel ( like a giant sieve) weighing 70 ton at the beginning of the operation, and on to magnetic separators, eddy current separators for aluminium cans, all very impressive. The quiz and the video prompted many questions, which Lesley comprehensively managed and Jane thanked her for her very informative and enlightening presentation, she had delivered in a fascinating but factual manner that enthralled our members and asked the audience to show their appreciation in the normal manner. AR

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