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Image of litter in bin

School Waste: Where does it all go?

It’s estimated that on average 4.2 million tonnes of good food produced by schools is wasted each year. That isn’t including any other types of waste, which we’re going to discuss in this blog. If you’d like to find out more about where food waste goes head over to our blog Food Waste: What happens when it’s collected. Schools produce such a wide variety of waste types, and we’re going to look into all of them.

Paper and Card

Paper and card can both be recycled (as long as it doesn’t have any sort of glitter, foil etc on that you would usually find with Christmas or Birthday cards, so make sure you try to pull any off before recycling). When they have been collected, they’re taken to a recycling plant where they get separated by type and grade. It then gets washed with soapy water to remove ink, plastic film, staples and glue. This then is put into a large holder and mixed with water to create “slurry” and by adding different materials, different paper products can be created from newspaper to cardboard. The slurry then gets spread into large thin sheets using large rollers. Once the paper is dry it is ready to be cut and sent back to shops. However, the paper is made up of long fibres meaning, each time it is recycled, those fibres are shortened so, therefore, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely.

Plastic Waste

Some plastics can also be recycled, once collected it gets taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and plastics are sorted into polymer types, because not all plastic items are made from the same form of plastic, some are also mixed. Once the materials have been separated they get transported to reprocessing facilities to be recycled by plastic-type. The plastic will either be shredded into flakes or melt-processed to form pellets, which can then be moulded into new products such as water bottles.

Unfortunately, a lot of UK plastic recycling is exported abroad due to the labour cost and infrastructure in the UK waste industry, and while some of it is still recycled into new products it’s hard to track exactly what happens to it once it has left our borders.

Garden Waste

Garden waste gets taken to a composting site where it then gets turned into a nutritious soil conditioner. Once it arrives at the composting site any material that isn’t compostable gets removed, usually by hand, and the remaining waste is shredded, and then left to decompose. The last part of the recycling process is to screen the compost to remove any remaining contaminants and grade the material for various end uses. This process can take between 8 and 16 weeks.

Another process that is available is in-vessel composting, this is the same however is under pressure and microbes are added to the material to speed the process up.

General Waste

General waste is waste which can’t be recycled such as non-recyclable plastics, polythene, some packaging, etc. 10 years ago, This waste would have been disposed of in landfill sites but with the advances in technology and space in the landfills decreasing rapidly, it means that there are different ways that we can deal with general waste, such as recovering energy from waste. Non-recyclable products are taken to an incinerator which burns the waste and collects the gasses, the gasses produced are then treated and converted into Gas and Electric that powers your home/business.

Metals

Waste metal is segregated down into types and is sent to a furnace to get melted down into ingots, a mass of metal shaped suitably for further processing, and can be sent to manufacturers and production companies. These ingots can be shaped and moulded into a variety of products, one of the most common uses for recycled metals is packaging such as cans or even computer components.

Glass

Once glass waste has been collected and taken to be reprocessed it gets crushed, and contaminants are removed at this stage. The glass then gets melted in a furnace and moulded or blown into new bottles or jars. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly reprocessed with no loss of quality.

We can provide services for any of these waste types and will work with you to find the best sustainable solution for you.

 

   

Ice melting due to climate change

How can we tackle climate change?

What is climate change?

Climate change is the large-scale, and long-term change in the planets average temperatures and weather patterns. Humans have taken part in the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases since the mid-1800s. As a result of this, global temperatures are rising and causing long-term changes to the climate. These changes include rising sea levels as the glaciers and ice sheets melt, ocean acidification as carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean, and extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves etc.

Nottingham is making a change

Nottingham has committed to becoming the first carbon-neutral city in the country by 2028. They have already reduced citywide CO2 emissions by above 41% since 2005. However, they still emitted 1.17 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017, meaning more work is still required.

How your business can help

  • Transition to renewable energy such as installing solar panels to power your office, which can reduce your electricity bill, protect you against the changing utility rates and help you to become a green business.
  • Electric vehicles, whether you switch over to them for your business fleet or install EV charging points to encourage staff to make the transition, electric vehicles will have a much better effect on the environment and can have a reduction in your transportation costs.
  • Keeping control over your waste and recycling as much as possible to avoid waste going to landfill, which is harmful to the environment.

For more information about anything we have mentioned in this blog give us a call on 0115 896 5460 or fill in the contact us form below:

 

 

 

Food for Thought.

What happens to your food waste?

Each year the UK Produces approximately 20 million tonnes of food waste. An even more shocking statistic shows that more than 50% of this is still suitable for consumption. That is enough to feed around 30 million average UK Citizens per year. Just with the food that we throw away!

You may think that sending your food waste to landfill is a sustainable option. It is a biodegradable product, and that would make sense, right? Wrong! Once tipped in a landfill it is surrounded by nonorganic material, making it impossible to break down. On top of that, food waste releases methane gas, which is 20 times more powerful than Co2, contributing immensely to climate change. It is incredibly worrying to think that around 20% of solid waste in landfill is food waste product.

Landfill waste

What can you do?

The good news is that it is easy for you to do your bit in making a difference to not just the planet but your pocket too.

Crabs

Crabs shells

Have you ever considered the materials that are reuseable through food waste? For example, crabs. Crab shells can be reprocessed and turned in to Chitin. A plastic-type material which could, in the near future, replace plastic packaging and products.

Have you ever considered how dyes and colourants are created? Certain food types can be reused to produce colourings and flavourings, which diverts them from landfill.

 

 

The options are forever changing and evolving while we continually look for innovation within our sector and out of the box ideas for diverting your waste from landfill.