Why Recycling Earns and How to Help

In May 2020, Greener Cuckfield hosted its first talk thanks to guests Colin McFarlin and Joanne Clayton. Unfortunately, we did not record it so here is a summary for your perusal.

Did you know that recycling is actually all about reselling? Selling your recycling brings in funds for our council and other councils around the country. On the other hand, sending recycling to Landfill is expensive and heavily taxed by our government.  All topics of which we explored during our talk with Colin.

All our recycling goes to the recycling plant (the MRF) at Ford, Nr Arundel. 69,800 tonnes of recycling are sold on to markets from all of your West Sussex recycling. Of that amount, last year’s numbers show that 46.05 per cent was paper and card and 30.6 per cent was glass bottles and jars. All recyclable and reused over and over again. However, 9.18% was contaminated and had a further journey to the MBT.

MBT is the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) plant in Horsham where all of our black bin waste goes. It is shredded and then mechanically separated into paper, plastic and metals. The plastics and paper will be turned into refuse derived fuel, fuel pellets for industry, and the metals will be sent for recycling. Any biodegradable waste will be sent to the anaerobic digestion tanks.  The rest of the waste which is usually around a quarter of the total amount cannot be recycled and goes on to landfill. The good news is that this has gone down by nearly 3 per cent last year so we are on the right track.

Landfill Tax means that £96.70 per tonne goes straight to the government. If you are anything like me and a bit rubbish with visualising big volumes remember that one bin lorry can hold roughly 10 tonnes of waste. With gate fees and costs that means one bin lorry of landfill costs around £1,500 if going to landfill. Reducing landfill by 1 per cent would save WSCC  £200,000. You can imagine the good we could all do with that money. Recycling in West Sussex saved our county council £5.8 million last year in avoiding Landfill Tax.

WSCC has many initiatives in the pipeline including facilitating clothing, food waste and absorbent hygiene products to be recycled. Post lockdown education is an important part of their plans. The team are hoping to offer educational talks to schools, colleges and groups as well as site visits to Ford MRF and Horsham MBT.

One project that has already come to fruition is that you can now recycle small electrical items with your rubbish bin. WSCC are offering discounted compost bins on their website.  

Whether West Sussex recycling can get the amount of contaminated recycling down from 9 per cent to 6 per cent is largely up to individual households. It is in everyone’s interests to do so because recycling earns. The West Sussex County Council can actually profit from our recycling bins whereas it costs to recycle from rubbish bins.

Although West Sussex is currently doing well with a recycling rate of 53% (national figure 44.7%) we could still be doing better. From all that is disposed of in the black bins around 40 per cent of the total is food waste and 19 per cent is ending up in the wrong bin. So you can see by collecting food waste separately our households will greatly reduce the volume and smells in your black top rubbish bin.

Apart from knowing what to put in the right bins, we can help prevent waste by using other options. Wraps and packaging are a pest for most waste conscious people. One solution is Terracycling which means you can get rid of a lot of things that can’t be recycled at the kerbside For instance, crisp packets, cheese packets, plastic soap dispenser pumps, toothpaste tubes etc.

At the moment Greener Cuckfield only collects the crisp packets for the village. We are working on creating more convenient ways for residents to get rid of these items but until then you will need to drop to Joanne at Haywards Heath Recyclers. You do not need to sort these into separate bags for each product or material but do make sure that the waste you are bringing to Joanne are the right materials. Find Joanne on Facebook ‘Haywards heath Recyclers’ for full list and her address.

Did you know that plastic bags, bread bags are all the things you can now take to any major supermarket?  Or that milk bottle tops can go to Cuckfield Local Market? The Tip is always good for getting rid of larger items or for a good spring clean but don’t forget you also have kerbside charity collection bags, Facebook, charity shops, eBay and repair cafes.

If you have any questions or you want to find out more about what to recycle have a look at  Colin’s Facebook Group, ‘Colin Waste Prevention Advisor’ For those not on Facebook, you could also keep an eye on Cuckfield Life as Colin regularly writes articles with lots of facts that can increase awareness.

Recycling in West Sussex also has a new, comprehensive website that is worth looking at: Recycling and Waste Prevention in West Sussex

For a full overview of how to prepare your recycling check out this WSCC Recycling Page

Greener Cuckfield would love to hear from people who have recycling hacks and tips for their kitchen. Especially if it is a kitchen with small space. How do you sort and get rid of yours? Email hello@greenercuckfield.org and let us know.

by Vicky Koch

Turmeric Bug for Naturally Carbonated Sodas

Jump to Recipe In the hopes that I can have my sewing friends over again soon, I’ve been brewing various concoctions with which to ply them, including naturally carbonated drinks made with my turmeric bug. As with a ginger bug or sourdough starter, microbes on turmeric and in the air, even on your hands, transform simple…

Turmeric Bug for Naturally Carbonated Sodas

Zero Waste – wrong or right?

These days, the term zero waste has become a thriving buzz term. It’s as prolific as the term ‘size zero’ was in the 90s, and for most of us, it’s just as unobtainable. Unlike size zero waists, it would be ideal for zero waste to happen. After all, the movement’s fundamental goal – to stop rubbish going into landfills, incinerators and/or the ocean – is a brilliant one. However, it can put you off when you still have to throw a lot away, or still find yourself in that endless queue for the tip.

I think it is important to take the phrase zero waste and its connotations with a pinch of salt, and give yourself a pat on the back for every small sustainable step you make. Just waste less, focus on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and if it goes wrong, don’t worry about it – tomorrow is a new day.

There are often many obstacles in the way for all of us. Some of us struggling with money, others restrained by time, but something is better than nothing. For instance, would you set aside your jam jars and go to a refilling store once a month? Or could you buy something reusable once a month? Reusable items span from shopping bags to cloth napkins to menstrual cups and safety razors.

It is important to note that Zero Waste is still a very good, searchable phrase on search engines like Ecosia or Google. It is a good way to find tips, ideas and hacks to help your sustainability efforts. It is also undeniably used by lots of excellent green companies such as zero waste shops or organisations like zero waste life.

For instance, there are some great Instagram accounts that produce lots of helpful, easy-to-read tips as shown below.

Alternatively, if the thought of zero waste makes you shudder, try following Sustainable(ish). Led by Jen Gale, she describes sustainable(ish) as “doing what you can, one baby step at a time. No preaching, no judgement, no expectations of ‘eco-perfection'”. She offers resources, books, services as well as a newsletter to promote suggestions that (as she says quite hilariously) make a difference without living “off grid in a yurt and learn to knit our own yoghurt”. Thus she provides us with ideas that we all can maintain.

When it comes to reducing waste, there are so many things you can choose from and so many ways to find information. Aiming for zero waste is a great philosophy to keep but perhaps – when it comes to every day terminology – taking sustainable steps is a more realistic attitude to have.

The important thing is not to overwhelm yourself. Keep things bite-sized and know that any effort you make is a contribution to an important cause.

🌎🌈🌏

By Vicky Koch

We would love to hear from you and what you think on this matter or anything to do with environmental issues. Please feel free to comment below or email us at hello@greenercuckfield.org

Image from Cotton Bro at Pexels

Sussex Social Eco-Groups – Facebook

Using Digital as an advantage

One thing that has been happening during the pandemic – while we have all had time on our hands – is the growth of some really interesting groups on Facebook. Informative and friendly these all offer a place to find solutions and suggestions for the eco-conscious and eco-curious.

Cuckfield Selling Page – this facebook page has been needed for a long time. Great if you are doing a clear out and great if you are looking for bargains! No business ads are allowed which leaves room to scroll through all the bits & bobs on offer. Obviously with us being in a beautiful, tasteful, lovely middle-class village full of beautiful, tasteful, lovely people this is filled with great stuff to have as your own. From an eco point of view another great reason to keep an eye on this is that you’re saving something from land-fill.

Journey to Zero Waste – has over 2000 members and is “A group for people who live in glorious Sussex and want to live more sustainably.” They have a list of zero waste places to go in Sussex which is worth a look. Also if you use the tag #AskAnAdmin on your post, the administrators will do their best to use their knowledge from past posts to answer your question.

Sussex Handmade UK – if you count the whole county to be local then this is a great one. It is filled with tons of unique, unusual handmade products from both West and East Sussex. Ranging from children’s stretchy soaps in Uckfield to personalised biscuits from Hassocks, there is something here for everyone.

There are many more that we could mention and I am sure we will in due course but for now, these are our top three. Let us know what you think of them and which is your favourite!

Also we would love to know what is your go-to local Facebook group? If you don’t want to comment below, just private message us as it could be helping the whole community.